Folx, this book is beautiful inside and out. I Am Brown is a celebration of the many complex and intersecting identities of having brown skin, and it is stunning. Told solely in “I” statements, many voices blend and meld together to showcase the range of diversity within the classroom illustrated.
This lyrical book could be read mantra-like, going through the different languages spoken, houses lived in, as well as different characteristics like eye and hair color. I love the way that so many differences are mentioned and everyone is celebrated for being exactly who they are. Especially in clothing, we see a (presumed female) child wearing a business suit and a (presumed male) child wearing a prom dress. This normalization is beautiful and gives some lovely clothing vocabulary too, showing kids wearing a kurta, lungee, and lehenga among others. I especially liked the page mentioning all the places these children prayed, and having two characters praying “everywhere” and “nowhere”.
The inclusion in this book is stunning, happy children partake in a huge variety of activities and celebrate both their differences and similarities. I loved it, and non-white children need this sort of representation in books that exist as a mirror for them. I Am Brown is absolutely worthy of a spot on your shelf!
ASHOK K. BANKER is the author of more than sixty books, including the internationally acclaimed Ramayana series. His works have all been bestsellers in India and have sold around the world. He lives in Los Angeles.
Sandhya Prabhat is an Independent Animator and Illustrator based in the Bay Area, California and is from Chennai, India. She holds an MFA Degree in Animation and Digital Arts from NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature from Stella Maris College.
Topics Covered: Empowerment, Self-Confidence, Resiliency, Disability, Diverse Experiences, Growth Mindset.
This book is awesome! I’m Gonna Push Through! delivers an empowering message for young people to step into their power and overcome anything in their path. The book is based on a mantra that the author developed for her classroom, it embraces challenge head-on and encourages students to see themselves as masters of their own story.
This story is spectacular for so many reasons! The illustrations are incredible and diverse, featuring many people I’ve never seen featured in a children’s book before. Students that use mobility aids, a child using a white and red cane (signifying low or no vision), a girl with a prosthetic leg, as well as a child with vitiligo! Reading through the book, the reader learns about how many famous adults (LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Jillian Mercado, and Jamie Brewer and more) pushed through any potential roadblocks on their journey, and conquered.
In the back of the book is a lengthy author’s note about Jasmyn’s journey as a teacher and the phenomenon of her Push Through campaign that became known globally. There is also information about most (not all, unfortunately) of the people mentioned that pushed on through and achieved greatness. Overall, this is an amazing book that should be used in classrooms everywhere! I don’t think our review can do justice to this storyline, I urge everyone to find a copy immediately and take in the beauty that is this book.
This book was sent to us by our friends at Simon & Schuster, but all opinions are our own!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Jasmyn Wright, a globally recognized educator, was born in Philadelphia, PA, but grew up in Pennsauken, NJ. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Spelman College in 2009, and her Master of Education from Christian Brothers University in 2012. IN 2015, Jasmyn was awarded the Teachers for Global Classrooms Professional Development Fellowship, in which she spent one year taking a global educational course, and learning ways to bring the awareness of global education to her school community. The fellowship required her to create a global education unit plan, and spend three weeks in Manila, Philippines, sharing best practices with government officials, administrators, and educators. She spent her Spring 2009 semester studying abroad at the University of Legon in Accra, Ghana.
A Teach for America alumna and elementary teacher of 9 years, Jasmyn taught in under-served and disadvantaged communities. She’s very passionate about instilling self-awareness and life-skills in her students, and is best known for helping them develop confidence, grit and resilience to overcome adversities, accomplish goals, and maximize their potential.
Jasmyn brought creativity and innovation in her classroom by creating affirmations, programs, and global learning projects that left her students feeling empowered and excited to learn. By fostering growth mindset, she encouraged them to be strong and limitless. Her inspiring and “out of the box” teaching approach allowed her to build authentic, healthy relationships with each of her students, and create a strong classroom culture.
November 2016, Jasmyn uploaded a video to her Facebook page, leading an original call and response mantra called #PushThrough with her then third grade students. This mantra instantly became a social media sensation, reaching over 3.7 million views within one week. Since then, her classroom style of teaching has been recognized and featured in The Huffington Post, The Today Show, Buzzfeed News, NPR News, Fox, NBC, etc. Recently, Jasmyn and her class had the opportunity to film and be a part of a 2017 GAP Kids back to school commercial and campaign, using a shortened version of her infamous classroom mantra, ‘Push Through’. The commercial was also coupled with a 5 minute mini documentary. Her ‘Push Through’ mantra is now permeating throughout classrooms and communities all over the world, and has been translated into 4 languages.
Jasmyn is a global educator and professes that the world is now her classroom. In addition to traveling and leading various inspirational keynotes, youth empowerment workshops, and teacher professional developments across the globe, she also serves as an educational consultant. Jasmyn travels to multiple countries and partners with organizations, leading, facilitating, and organizing teacher training programs. Sharing her best practices and innovative and sincere teaching methods, she’s impacting and transforming educational communities around the world.
Her goal with The Push Through Organization is to continue to use her voice and gift to spread empowerment, speak up and advocate for what society labels as broken, remind people their they were birthed with a purpose and limitless, and positively impact change around the world. For more on Ms. Jasmyn Wright, please visit her website at: http://www.jasmynwrightglobal.weebly.com
Photo by Sarah Schultz Taylor
Shannon Wright is an illustrator and cartoonist based out of Richmond, Virginia. Some of her clients include The Guardian, TIME Magazine, NY Times, Mother Jones, NPR, Google and Scholastic. Her first picture book, My Mommy Medicine, is out on shelves.
Her work tends to explore social issues like race and gender through a slice-of-life lens. She makes personal and original stories invoking nostalgia rooted from her own childhood and life around her. Represented by Writers House. For book inquiries contact Hannah Mann.
Topics Covered: Growing Up, Activism, Friendship, Self-Expression, Empowerment, Self-Esteem, Social-Emotional Learning, Skill Cultivation, Women in Leadership.
Summary: Step Into Your Power does the incredibly complex job of being both a call to action as well as an anthem that every person, especially every young girl, is exactly enough being just who they are. This book is set up in a way that has several main themes with lessons related to it, but the entire book flows together beautifully inspiring the reader to do what’s best for themselves as well as others.
The reader is empowered to find their crew, ask for help, and find what feels good. We love the action steps, resources, and self-reflection activity ideas associated with each lesson. They help the reader carry on and follow through with their own self-development, truly bringing about the tools for each os us to be able to step into our power in whatever way feels the best for us.
Step Into Your Power cultivates the power within to develop skills with action steps and reflective questions for the reader so they can begin raising hell in whatever way they are called to do so. Jamia Wilson is candid, sharing stories and lessons she learned while growing up that share insights she gained. This is an incredible book, much needed for every young girl trying to find their way and step into their already perfect power.
This book was sent to us by Quarto, but all opinions are our own!
Andrea Pippins is an illustrator, designer, and author who has been featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, Family Circle, The Huffington Post, Bustle, and more. She has done work with brands such as Free People, Lincoln Center, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Andrea is the author of I Love My Hair, a coloring book featuring her illustrations celebrating various hairstyles and textures, and Becoming Me, for young women to color, doodle, and brainstorm their way to a creative life. Andrea’s new book, Young, Gifted & Black, was released Spring 2018. Andrea produces artwork with a mission to create what she wants to see and a vision to empower women and girls of color and people in underserved communities with visual tools to own and tell their own stories.