- Age Range: 5 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Lexile Measure: 200 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Press (August 29, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1338053140
- ISBN-13: 978-1338053142
- Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Why Am I Me? Hardcover – August 29, 2017
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Britt tackles the metaphysical for the picture book crowd. Two (presumably) parent/child pairs approach a subway from different directions: an African American father and son and a light-skinned mother and daughter. The boy reads a book while riding a skateboard; the girl has a musical instrument case strapped to her back. As the kids notice each other, he wonders: "Why am I me…and not you?" She thinks: "Why are you, you…and not me?" And so it goes, with thoughts such as, "If someone else were me,/who would they be?/Someone lighter,/older,/darker,/bolder?" Alko and Quall's acrylic, colored pencil, and collage scenes portray a diverse population within the train car and seen through its windows. People of varying skin colors, physical abilities, and styles play, watch sports, or perform or listen to music. The thought bubble questions arise naturally; they're the kinds of things that would go through a child's mind when observing differences. The climax is spread over four openings. It begins with a triptych in which the star on the boy's shirt becomes a twinkle in his eye and then a glowing shape in the sky. After the girl's eye sparkles, the boy reaches out, and their faces intersect in a Venn diagram of friendship. VERDICT Universal questions combine with richly layered, captivating compositions, presenting opportunities for careful examination and stimulating conversations. Perfect for classroom or one-on-one sharing.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
Words by Paige Britt, Pictures by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko
"The beautifully textured artwork… adroitly captures the mood and feel of a city in which diversity among people is such a natural occurrence, it doesn't need to be called out – it simply is." -- New York Times Book Review
"Why Am I Me? invites very young listeners to consider something both astonishing and elegantly simple." -- The Washington Post
* "A mindful, captivating ode to wonder and a must for any story- or bedtime repertoire." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “Universal questions combine with richly layered, captivating compositions, presenting opportunities for careful examination and stimulating conversations.” -- School Library Journal, starred review
* "[A] benevolent, multicultural landscape depicted in lushly textured, jewel-toned collage and paint." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "The interplay of art and text will invite the book's audience to grapple with themes of individuality, diversity, universality, and what it means to be human." -- The Horn Book, starred review
* "Author Paige Britt alchemizes…big questions, encouraging soul-searching dialogues with oneself and others…and artists Sean Qualls and Selina Alko… brilliantly [remind] readers how stories can be found behind every window, every door, every wall." -- Shelf Awareness, starred review
"The richly saturated full-bleed illustrations... are as aesthetically vibrant and colorful as they are mulitcultural, featuring diversity across race, religion, ability, and gender." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, recommended
"An ordinary trip home becomes a journey in wonder and compassion."
Sophie Blackall, Caldecott Medalist
"[A] perfect blend of words and images… took my breath away."
Tomie DePaola, Caldecott Medalist
"I love the vibrancy of the illustrations."
Javaka Steptoe, Caldecott Medalist
"Selina and Sean's paintings bring this love story gloriously to the page… I felt like I had been dropped right into the center of everything. Loved it! "
Jacqueline Woodson, Newbery Honoree and National Book Award Winner
"Gentle illustrations that capture a timely theme: the value of empathy."
Emily Nussbaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic for The New Yorker
Grace Lin, Newbery Honoree
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I love it! It is a must for every elementary school classroom. And I think it belongs in higher grades, too - as a way to introduce discussions about the aforementioned topics.
Britt is a master with words. Selina Alko & Sean Qualls are master artists individually, but together they accomplish art that is unrepeatable!!
Buy this book...and then go buy more copies to give as gifts.
Allison Branscombe, Author
All About China: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More for Kids