What I Am

Divya Srinivasan. Viking, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-20401-6
Based on a scenario that Srinivasan’s sister once faced, the author-illustrator offers an empowering, accessible response to the often racially motivated question, “What are you?” After affirming that “I am a girl. I am a human,” an unnamed Indian American protagonist speculates on her relationships with others: “I am a daughter. I am a granddaughter.// I am an Amma to my guys.” She is a vegetarian, and the darkness of her skin color depends on who she’s comparing it with (“I am dark. I am pale”). Next comes a series of opposing qualities: “I am mean,” one page asserts, as she sticks her tongue out at Amma’s cooking; “I am kind,” reassures the opposite page, which shows the child holding up a picture reading “I love you” to her mother. Art rendered in pencils, watercolor, and digitally features appealingly childlike art that expounds upon the text. This volume succeeds in restoring the dignity and nuance to identity that an all-too-common microaggression often condenses. Back matter features a stirring author’s note. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 07/29/2021
Release date: 08/03/2021
Genre: Children's
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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