Review of A Girl like Me

A Girl like Me
by Angela Johnson; illus. by Nina Crews
Preschool, Primary    Millbrook    40 pp.    g
2/20    978-1-5415-5777-2    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5415-7891-3    $18.99

It seems not even the sky’s the limit for the imaginative, adventurous, inventive girls depicted in this inspirational picture book. Johnson’s upbeat text, paired with Crews’s innovative, exuberant photo collages, delivers a message of encouragement and empowerment. “I always dream,” reads the opening line, and the accompanying illustration presents close-ups of three young women of color, their eyes closed, against a patterned background of blues and purples. Subsequent spreads show each girl recounting fantastic dreams, which position them as superheroes “in Supergirl underwear…in flowing scarves and a cowgirl hat.” They fly, stand atop tall buildings, and dive deep into oceans; but most importantly, they resist others’ warnings, denials, and chastisement about “a girl like you.” As the story goes on, more young women join the scenes, offering an ever-broadening depiction of girlhood; the closing spread, featuring headshots of each of the participants, coupled with her own words about her dreams, grounds this interpretation in the lived realities of real children. This is not trite girl-power pablum; it’s a rallying cry for girls to reject limitations others might place on them and their dreams.

From the March/April 2020 Horn Book Magazine.

Megan Dowd Lambert
Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert is an instructor at Simmons University’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. For nearly ten years she also worked in the education department of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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