Written by: Frank Murphy
Illustrated by: Kayla Harren
For ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Social-Emotional Learning, POC-Centric Narratives, Gender Stereotypes, Toxic Masculinity, Diversity, Acceptance, Kindness, Friendship, Identity, Self-Esteem.
Summary: This is a very sweet book about being a good human with an amazingly diverse group of children depicted in the illustrations. The book opens talking about how unique every person is, and how the world needs someone exactly like each and everyone one. Our main character (a young boy of color) demonstrates the many attributes a person can have, and how everyone is different. Everyone is smart, but in different ways. Some are more gifted athletically, and some artistically. But everyone should be kind, polite, and help others.
This book is geared towards boys, to help dismantle the stereotypes that force boys and men to feel pressure to embody a single type of masculinity, which can become toxic. Murphy tells the reader to leave every place and every person, better than you found them. We really like this book, and it’s message about the importance of being true to yourself but also a kind and sensitive human being. Although the words in the book could easily be shifted to include “people” instead of “boys” all the time, the text is sending a profound message to boys that they don’t have to be macho and emotionless in order to be seen as a man.
This book was sent to us by Sleeping Bear Press as part of the Best Books of 2019 list, but all opinions are our own.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Frank Murphy has taught a wide variety of grades at the elementary and middle school level. A popular speaker, Murphy is the author of many fun historical fiction books for young readers. He lives in Holland, PA and still teaches full-time!
Kayla Harren graduated from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City with a BFA in illustration. Books she has illustrated include A BOY LIKE YOU (winner of the 2019 EUREKA gold award) and THE BOY WHO GREW A FOREST (winner of the EUREKA silver award.) Kayla’s work has been featured in the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Communication Arts, 3×3 Magazine, and she’s won the Highlights for Children Pewter Plate Award.
Kayla loves animals, playing volleyball, hiking, and eating cookies with frosting. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, Peter Harren, and their adorable dogs.