Written & Illustrated by: Sugar Snap Studio
For Ages: Infant & Up (oversized board book)
Topics Covered: Career, Self-Esteem, Growing Up.
I am all about a good career options book, especially one as inclusive and diverse as this. I have been known to say that if I knew as a child that putting together dinosaur fossils at museums was a job, I would have boarded that train years ago! Flipping through the reinforced cardboard pages (an adult’s dream-so easy to wipe clean!) the reader is greeted with a girl of color game developer, a hijabi nutritionist, a landscape architect using forearm crutches, and much more! It’s great to see girls building robots and driving trains, as well as a male floral designer and costume designer. Of course, these statements I’ve been making thus far are very binary-reinforcing, but they’re also smashing stereotypes. There isn’t anything explicitly gendered about the language in the book, making it very easy to use they/them pronouns for the youth director with short hair and pink pants for example (or any other character). In fact, this book could be an excellent tool for talking about how jobs and personal expression isn’t indicative of a person’s gender at all!
ABC What Can I Be? is a fantastic example of how we can be showing kids a myriad of career options and the array of humans who already do these jobs. Each job has a simple sentence explaining what the career entails, just enough to spark an interest to learn more. This story is beautifully reflective of our diverse world, and a great lovely example of how having text that only uses “I” statements can lead to much greater discussions about personal expression and pronouns, along with all the jobs that make our society function.
This book was kindly sent by Quarto, but all opinions are my own!
Jessie Ford, of Sugar Snap Studio, is an English illustrator, who’s colourful view of the world has been brightening up people’s lives for the last decade.
Her graphic shapes, textured layers and silhouetted figures culminate in a printed, ‘hand-made’ effect. With a love of all things bright, bold and graphic, Jessie’s faux naive charm has been used extensively within the publishing, advertising, editorial, packaging and design sectors. Her strong and confident use of colour has won her many fans over the years.
Jessie is the best selling author and illustrator of the ‘ABC: What Can She/He/I Be’ books, and the ‘Mrs Peanuckle Alphabet’ Books.