What makes you special?
If you can answer that question easily, great!
But if you’re like many people, you may have to ponder a moment. You may ask yourself questions like:
Am I really special?
Are the things I like about myself all that noteworthy?
Would anyone else think I’m special?
If you need a little help embracing your inner awesomeness, I strongly recommend ROCK WHAT YA GOT, a new picture book written by Samantha Berger, illustrated by the husband-and-wife team Kerascoet, and published by Little, Brown.
This is a lively and lovely look at celebrating all the things that make you YOU. Or, as Berger would say:
Look at what IS
not what is NOT!
Find what is yours,
and carve out your spot.
Take it and own it
and rock it — A LOT .
This book is narrative prose with rhyming interludes. An artist draws and names a character and then decides she can do better. But the character doesn’t want anything about her changed. She wants to rock what she’s got, perfect or not, and the book is her convincing the artist to let her be her own spectacular self.
I love how this book thumbs its nose (if books have noses) at the message constantly delivered by the media that if you just change a few things about yourself, you’ll be so much happier. Defrizz your hair. Lose some weight. Moisturize your elbows, Eliminate panty lines. Whiten your teeth. Brighten your eyes. All this advertising reinforces a message that no one is good enough just as they are.
This book’s response?
Be your best you, and rock what ya got.
Don’t let anyone say what you’re not.
Through all this, the art is colorful and fun and a pleasure to peruse. I especially love the page where the character and the artist face off for the final time and come to an agreement about the importance of being yourself without any apology.
This book is fun to read. It also would be great to use to start discussions about self-confidence, perfectionism and the often misguided messages people receive from the media.
If this is a theme you’d like to explore further — personally or in a school classroom — I’d also recommend two other books that would pair very nicely with ROCK WHAT YA GOT.
The first is my upcoming book with Patrice Barton called REMARKABLY YOU.
It’s coming Feb. 5 from HarperCollins, and it is a manifesto about all of the things — big or small, loud or quiet — that make us who we are. With encouraging text, readers will — hopefully — delight in all the ways they can be their remarkable selves.
The second is THERE’S ONLY ONE YOU written by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook, and illustrated by Rosie Butcher coming May 7 from Sterling Books.
This feel-good book reassures kids that, whoever and whatever they are, it’s awesome being YOU! Written to include all kinds of children and families, it embraces the beauty in a range of physical types, personalities and abilities.
Both are available for pre-order now.