cover image Why Am I Me?

Why Am I Me?

Paige Britt, illus. by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-05314-2

Britt (The Lost Track of Time) and husband-and-wife collaborators Qualls and Alko (The Case for Loving) are in a philosophical frame of mind. Their protagonists—a boy and a girl, one white, one brown—have boarded an elevated train with a parent (the boy has been to a bookstore, the girl to music lessons) and are headed home. As the train moves through the city—a benevolent, multicultural landscape depicted in lushly textured, jewel-toned collage and paint—the children fall into identical reveries. “Why am I me... and not you?” they wonder. Can you be “someone lighter, older, darker, bolder” and still be the same you? Britt doesn’t offer a resolution—hardly surprising, since these questions have vexed philosophers for millennia—but the children aren’t anxious. Both are happy and safe, and the park they pass is filled with people enjoying a fine evening together. Life is strange, when you think about it, but it can be good, too—which isn’t a bad mixed message to send. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. Illustrator’s agent: (for Alko) Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary; (for Qualls) Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Sept.) [/em]