Written By: Lynnette Mawhinney
Illustrated by: Jennie Poh
For Ages: 4-8years
Topics Covered: Own Voices, Family, Interracial Families, Social-Emotional Learning, Acceptance, Self-Esteem.
Lulu is a bright and strong protagonist, and she loves her family. What she doesn’t love, however, is being asked “what” she is. Luliwa Lovington is biracial and proud, but she is also so much more. Unfortunately, people have all sorts of different assumptions about her parents. Moms at the park think Lulu’s mother is her nanny, and well-meaning women at cafes think Lulu’s dad adopted her. Lulu asks her older brother Zane what he does when people ask what he is, and he coaches her into deciding her own “power phrase” that will both answer the question and stop more invasive questioning about her family structure.
Every book by Magination Press that I’ve read, I love. The books tackle really poignant issues in a developmentally appropriate and engaging way. I love the subtle nod to the historic Loving family in Lulu’s last name, and the inclusion of the abrasive questions and assumptions that many interracial folx are asked every single day. In the back is an author’s note with some tips about talking to children, and even more importantly, listening to biracial children. This book is absolutely wonderful, and perfect to keep in the classroom.
Lynnette Mawhinney is Associate Professor of Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her love for teaching has always been a deep passion. She started her teacher training at Penn State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education/English and Communications, with a minor in Movement Science to use for athletic training with youth and adults. Later, she earned her Masters and Ph.D. in Urban Education at Temple University.
As a seasoned educator, Dr. Mawhinney is proud to have taught within many diverse populations from the American Indian reservations of South Dakota to urban Philadelphia. She has taught in a range of urban educational contexts, including middle school, high school, undergraduate, graduate, and GED and employment training programs for TANF (formerly known as Welfare) recipients and dislocated workers. For the last ten years, she has conducted teacher training in the U.S., Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, South Africa, and Egypt.
Jennie Poh was “born in England and grew up in Malaysia (in the jungle). Pen and paper by her side at all times she loved drawing princesses and writing stories. At the age of ten she moved back to England and trained as a ballet dancer. After failing her art A-level Jennie decided the art world was definitely for her so she studied Fine Art at The Surrey Institute of Art & Design as well as Fashion Illustration at Central St.Martins. Illustrating is the reason she gets washed and dressed in the morning. She loves drawing quirky beautiful girly stuff and works with ink, watercolour, collage, origami paper, pencils and usually ends up wanting to bash her computer.
Jennie lives in Surrey with her gorgeous boyfriend and works as a freelance illustrator. As well as illustration her other passions in life are cooking, her pink dressing gown, cats, hedgehogs, making jewelry, Kung Fu Panda, Christmas, books, Harry Potter, new sketchbooks, doing her boyfriend’s washing, magical days, holidays, cafes, Diptique candles and milky tea.”
Jennie’s clients include Stripes Publishing, Usbourne, Capstone, and many more.