We seemed to be all about girl power this weekend at the library – maybe because it was just my daughter and I, but our big stack of books seemed to include a lot of books about very cool girls – some books new to us and some old favourites.
Two books to talk about featured the youngest sister in a family of three girls. Not fairy tale stories where everything comes in threes including sisters – but books from the here and now that explored themes of identity, self-esteem, and acceptance.
Award winning, Suki’s Kimono is a family favourite at our house. We love how Suki possesses a joyful inner spirit and how she lives in the moment not worrying about what the world might think. Suki adores her blue cotton kimono – for the memories that it holds and the way it makes her feel. She vows to wear it on her first day of school despite the disapproval of her older sisters and manages to maintain the magical happy feeling of wearing this special kimono throughout her day even when questioned and taunted by classmates. Written by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch.
Look at that cover. Aren’t you just rooting for Velma before you even know her issues or struggles? Kevin Hawkes, illustrator, helps create a wonderfully unique character in Alan Madison’s Velma Gratch & the way cool butterfly. Velma arrives in first grade in the shadow of her two older sisters known for their seemingly perfect qualities – athletic abilities, spectacular spelling and marvelous math. Velma wanted to be noticed but for what? She chooses some quite foolish ways to stand out: running the slowest, singing the loudest, muddling her math . . . None bring quite the effect she is hoping for. Slowly, Velma learns to recognize a passion – science. When her class begins to learn about butterflies she twists wonderfully new words around in her mouth – metamorphosis, conservatory, migration. Not only does Velma come into her own as a butterfly expert, but on the class field trip to the conservatory, Velma is noticed by a monarch who lands on her finger and doesn’t leave for days.
Velma releases her monarch with the others from the conservatory a few days later, waving goodbye as they begin their journey south. Velma has gained a little power of flight herself as she floats home between her sisters, happy and confident.
Isn’t it wonderful when the youngest members of a family can teach everyone a thing or two?