Frank Murphy, Barbara Dan & Kayla Harren
This book is the third installment of the “A _____ Like You” series, and once again the story knocks it out of the park! The narrative flows from page to page, discussing the impact and originality of every teacher. Not just in the classroom, but everywhere! Museum guides, art instructors, piano players, we all have so many teachers in our lives.
As always, Kayla Harren’s illustrations are beautiful and diverse; never stereotypical. Although I’m not in the classroom anymore (for a variety of reasons), we’ve all felt like we’re just treading water and trying to make it to the end of the day. This ode to educators helps to remind everyone with children in their life that we might not always be around to see what we taught them. All of us probably have a teacher that changed our life, and that we remember fondly. Educators are on the frontlines of change. We can empower the younger generation to think critically, advocate for themselves and others, and to embrace their passions. Authors Frank Murphy and Barbara Dan phrase it beautifully in an author’s note by writing “teaching is layered with the wishes, desires, goals, hopes, and dreams we have for our students.” I think this book could also be used to inspire students that they also have the capacity to change lives and be teachers to their peers as well. A teacher can look like anyone, and teach any skill. The page about creating a safe place and teaching how to ask the right questions is what I try to imbue into every interaction with people, and what we need to strive for if we truly desire for the large-scale change that our society needs.
This book was kindly sent by Sleeping Bear Press, but all opinions and decisions to review are my own. I wanted to share this during Teacher’s Appreciation Week, but it’s been out since March!
FRANK MURPHY is a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. He has taught a wide variety of grades at the elementary for more than 28 years. A history buff, former basketball coach & Sixers fan, and popular speaker, Frank is the author of many fun historical fiction/biography books for young readers, including several popular Random House Step into Reading History Readers – including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2006 Best Book Award Winner Ben Franklin & the Magic Squares. His newest picture book is A Boy Like You (July 2019) illustrated by Kayla Harren and published by Sleeping Bear Press. A Boy Like You is a loving tribute to boys, celebrating all the wonderful ways to be a boy and encouraging readers to be the truest version of themselves–while embracing empathy and kindness. A Girl Like You (July 2020), co-authored with Carla Murphy (Frank’s wife, who is a mom of a girl and an accomplished pediatric nurse) is a follow-up to A Boy Like You, offering girls a picture book that encourages them to embrace what makes them unique, to choose kindness, and to be their own advocates. As a teacher and father, Frank is committed to creating children’s books that expand readers’ knowledge of history and help inspire discussions about kindness, leadership, citizenship, growing up, and more.
Barbara grew up outside Philadelphia, and teaches with Frank Murphy at Holland Elementary! This is her first book.
She is not the prolific romance writer that I thought she was, because Google put this book under her list of accomplishments (which are lengthy). However, it did make me laugh very much when I realized the error.
Kayla graduated from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City with a BFA in illustration. Books Kayla illustrated include A BOY LIKE YOU (winner of the 2019 EUREKA Gold Award) and THE BOY WHO GREW A FOREST (winner of the 2020 Crystal Kite Award.) Her work has been featured in the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Communication Arts, 3×3 Magazine, and she 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.