I Will Be Fierce!

Written by: Bea Birdsong 

Illustrated by: Nidhi Chanani

For ages:4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Social-Emotional Development, POC-Centric Narratives, Self-Esteem, Friendship.

Summary: This book is the definition of adorable.  The plot is driven forward by phrases often found in adventure stories, but the illustrations shows a typical school day for the main character.  The main character is an unnamed girl, wearing her “armor” (a rainbow sweater) and conquering the challenges she faces bravely and kindly.  She takes on the many headed serpent (the school bus), tricks the Guardian of Wisdom (the school librarian with green hair!) and dances in the rain.  The girl declares herself the hero of her story, a person who will stand up for her beliefs and search for the light in the darkness.  The illustrations are incredible and diverse, featuring many background characters of color, differing gender expressions and religions, though no characters with mobility aids are found.  Overwhelmingly positive and tender, the day ends for our character with her sleeping on the couch, head in the lap of an elderly woman which we see in the beginning pages.  This atypical family structure is refreshing and normalizing without the audience being beaten over the head with the message.  There is no dialogue in between characters, just the declarations of the main character’s inner monologue in which the impacts of are (positively) shown by the illustrations.  This book is great for multiple topics, and we love the adventure story language being applied to the typical school day, making it magical and special in it’s own way.  Such a great book for everyone to enjoy!

Reflection Questions:

  • What special clothing item is your armor?
  • How do you think the main character decided that she would be the hero of her story?
  • How can you search for the light in the darkness in your life everyday?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • This book has a lot of language often found in fairy tale adventure stories.  What other stories does it remind you of?  What are the similarities and how could they be reinterpreted to other situations, like the sweater being armor and the Mountain of Knowledge being a stack of books?
  • Draw your own fairy tale setting.  What would your armor look like?  What beasts would you face and how could they be defeated, like using the bubbles to distract the dogs?  Everyone is a superhero in their own life, and can be fierce!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

beaBea Birdsong is a former teacher whose time in the classroom left a lasting impression of the awesome power of books to educate, entertain, and empower. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Sisters in Crime. Bea lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and rescue dog named Bilbo. She spends her free time reading, traveling, and searching for hidden doors to other worlds.

Bea’s debut picture book, I Will Be Fierce, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani, was released on April 23, 2019 from Roaring Brook Press. She is represented by Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency.

NidhiNidhi Chanani is a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and writer. After completing her undergrad literature degree at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Nidhi pursued a career in non-profits. The desire to draw kept pulling her away and in 2008 she enrolled in art school (only to drop out a year later). In 2009 she began completing one illustration every day of the week. She called this Every Day Love and developed her narrative style and voice with three years of daily practice. Thus began her art career and business.

Nidhi was born in Calcutta and raised in suburban southern California. She creates because it makes her happy – with the hope that it can make others happy, too. In April of 2012 she was honored by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change.

Her debut graphic novel, Pashmina, was released by First Second Books in fall 2017. It received starred reviews in the School Library JournalPublisher’s Weekly, and was reviewed in the New York Times. In March of 2019, the film adaptation of Pashmina with Netflix was announced. Gurinder Chadha is set to direct.

In 2018, Jasmine’s New Pet, which she wrote, drew and colored released through Dark Horse Comics. Her first bilingual board book, Shubh Raatri Dost/Good Night Friend released in 2019 through Bharat Babies. Her debut picture book, written by Bea Birdsong, I will be fierce, released in April 2019.

She is currently working on her second original graphic novel, Jukebox, with her husband Nick Giordano which is slated for 2021 release. She is an instructor in the Master of Fine Arts, Comics program at the California College of Arts.

Her media appearances include CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and BBC Radio. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, the Women’s March, My Modern Met, Bored Panda and India Times. Nidhi has worked with Disney, ABC, Airbnb, Sony, Microsoft, State Farm Insurance and a variety of other clients. Her non-fiction comics have appeared in the Nib. Everyday Love Art products are sold in retail shops across the country, including the San Francisco International Airport, Books Inc., and Therapy stores.

Nidhi draws and dreams every day with her husband, daughter and their attention starved cat in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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