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My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? Hardcover – September 1, 2010

118 customer reviews

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Waiting is a big part of childhood. Waiting in line, waiting to grow up, waiting for something special to happen. However, now a child sets the stage and pulls the strings in a timeless, heartfelt picture book about imaginative play, friendship, and surprises. Paperback | More for ages 3-5
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2—"Good morning, Isabella," says a mother to her daughter. "My name is not Isabella!" says the child. She is Sally, the "greatest, toughest astronaut who ever was!" At breakfast she becomes Annie the sharpshooter, and then Rosa on the bus ride to school. When she gets home that afternoon, she is Marie, the scientist; then Elizabeth, the doctor; Mommy, the greatest mother; and, finally, Isabella again. She falls asleep thinking about who she will become tomorrow. Throughout the day, the mother good-humoredly encourages her daughter's flights of imagination. The repetitive text, while somewhat contrived, serves to drive home the message that girls can do and be anything they want. The inclusion of motherhood in the list of worthwhile occupations is refreshing. The colorful mixed-media artwork reinforces the fanciful, upbeat tone of the book. An appendix gives more information on the lives and careers of all the women alluded to, and a list of works consulted presents opportunities for further research. Use this story to ignite young readers' interest in women's history.—Rachael Vilmar, Eastern Shore Regional Library, Salisbury, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


""The exuberance of the text and typography, coupled with Isabella's force of personality, ensures that the pages fly along, largely and blessedly free of the earnestness that plagues so many "girls can do anything" books."" - Publishers Weekly

"A tremendous book." - Mommy's Memorandum

" "A great story for little girls!"" - Amanda's Favs

""The perfect book to teach young girls about the inner strength of their gender."
" - New Age Mama

""It's the kind of book that can open a little girl's mind up to a world of new stories simply by letting her explore all the possibilities."" - BabyCenter

""Fun inspiration...sure to be enjoyed." " - Chronicles of an Infant Bibliophile

""A delightful tale of young Isabella trying on the personality of daring women who left an indelible mark on history."" - Modern Home Modern Baby

""Empowering to young girls and very positive."" - Eco Child's Play

""Isabella puts an imaginative spin on her day-to-day activities that reminds us all that we can do anything and be anyone we choose."" - Parenting Pink

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; Reprint edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402243952
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402243950
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 11 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jennifer Fosberry is a science geek turned children' book writer. After working in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley and running away to Costa Rica for a few years, she returned to the San Francisco Bay area to read, write, and try to get out of housework. She lives with her husband and three children and her little dog, too.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By T. S. on November 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The message of this book is fantastic. I love hearing my 2-year-old talk about Sally Ride and Marie Curie, and those are the kinds of role models I want her to have. It's the perfect antidote to the obnoxious princess culture that permeates media and toys aimed at girls these days.

Having said that, there is something I don't love about this book, and it's the appearance of superlatives on every spread. Isabella, when pretending to be these great women, says things like, "I am the greatest/smartest/fastest/bravest/[whatever] that ever was!" Why can't we honor their contributions without having to say they are better than anyone else at their chosen profession? I try not to use that kind of wording around my daughter because it feels like it encourages competition among other girls. All women can be smart and brave and kind; life isn't a competition to be smarter or braver than your peers. It's extremely important to me that she learn the world is big enough for all of us to make worthy contributions. The point isn't to be the smartest or bravest or anything-est; it's to be kind and curious and respectful and to lift one another up.

Of course, this is the hallmark of today's parents, isn't it? Having the luxury of analyzing every little thing to death, down to the suffixes in story books? Still, it struck me as a subtle but important point, so I thought I'd mention it. I realize the use of superlatives might just be a nod to the way little kids talk (everything is superlative in kids' minds!), but the words we use matter. Thanks, Jennifer Fosberry, for this clever and important book.
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82 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on February 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I know from experience that people frequently rank reviews they don't agree with as not useful, so bear with me here. This review is for those who share my point of view on a few key issues having to do with manners, ways of speaking, and the plot of children's books. If you read this review and have different values and disagree with my judgments, more power to you. I am sure all of our children will turn out just fine. This review is not directed at you.


My daughter received this book as a gift, because my mother knows that I'm really interested in introducing her to good role models.

She thought I'd love it, but I cannot stand it. Here's why.

1. The storyline is exceedingly simple and the action extremely repetitive. Every day, the child wakes up and wants to be a new hero. The child does not face any problems, nor does she overcome any challenges. She just pretends to be someone cool. How is that interesting?

2. The praise for the heroes is really, truly over the top. Bravest? Best? Fastest? Who ever was, who ever lived? Really? While I deeply admire all of the women featured in this book, and don't come close to their level of heroism, I've read enough to know that this is simply not true. Amelia Earhart was a truly admirable, brave and skilled figure. But was she truly the most admirable, bravest, and most skilled pilot who ever lived? Who is to judge? Wouldn't it be better to highlight specific characteristics she had that made her successful? The dedication in the beginning is likewise exaggerated: to the bravest, thiseverest, thateverest, whateverest girl who ever was.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. Williams on September 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Just how big can a little girl dream? This is the question asked in Jennifer Fosberry's latest kid's book, My Name is not Isabella.

Isabella is a little girl who wakes up one morning with big dreams of being somebody great. She spends the day pretending to be some of the greatest female heroines in history. Fantastic women such as Annie the sharpshooter, Rosa the activist, and Marie the scientist inspire young Isabella. She even pretends to be "Mommy" for a brief time before bedtime. Supported by a fun-loving mother, Isabella eventually discovers that the best person to be is herself, the sweetest, kindest, smartest, bravest, fastest, toughest, greatest girl that ever was!

The book introduces some great historical females to young girls and inspires them to be great! It also teaches them that whoever they are, the best heroine of all is themselves. The teachable quality of this heartwarming tale empowers young girls with the knowledge that they can do anything they want while inspiring them to let their own personalities shine.

As you can see the pictures are absolutely adorable. They are whimsical, bright, and full of personality. I also liked how some of the illustrations where Isabella was pretending to be a famous character, were drawn to be a reflection of the historical black and white photographs of the actual heroines.

At the end of the book is a short biography of each of the real characters that inspired Isabella. It's a great way for young girls to learn history and be inspired.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Monique VINE VOICE on September 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut in space
Annie Oakley, American sharpshooter and circus shooter
Rosa Parks, African-American civil rights activist
Marie Curie, one of the most famous female scientists
Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate medical school, the first woman doctor
Mommy, one of the loves of little Isabella's life

This beautifully illustrated gold and purple children's book provides 5 different history lessons for little girls - and little boys who will listen. Using rhyme, a funny story, and a very adventurous little girl, whose name is only Isabella when she's not being a woman of action, Jennifer Fosberry is able to tell the story of 5 women in American history who have changed lives. And of millions of women whose job is to encourage their children, daily.

In one day Isabella is able to morph into these women, and remind us, the grown-folks, of women who have paved paths, and teach children, both boys and girls, about the how a little girl's dreams can turn that little girl into a game-changing inspiration for millions of other little girls. Isabella also teaches adults, who may feel like it's too late to make a change, that's there's always time to follow your dream.

I love this book.
Reviewed for Arms of a Sister
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