Thursday 30 July 2015

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Review: I'm a Girl! by Yasmeen Ismail

I'm a Girl! by Yasmeen IsmailI'm a Girl! by Yasmeen Ismail (review copy) - I'm supposed to be made of sugar and spice
and all things nice.
But I'm sweet
and sour
and not a little flower.

I'm a girl! I'm a girl! I'm a girl!

The girl in this book likes to win, she likes to be spontaneous, fast and strong, and because she also likes to dress in t-shirt and shorts, she is forever getting mistaken for a boy. And when she meets a boy who likes wearing dresses and playing dolls, they both quickly discover that they share interests that are wide and varied.

I'm a Girl! is a wonderful celebration of being who we are and not being pigeon-holed or restricted by gender stereotypes. Most of all it is full of energy and laugh-out-loud funny. Who says that pink is for girls and blue is for boys?
From Goodreads.

I'm a Girl! by Yasmeen Ismail is brilliant! I knew I had to read it as soon as I heard about - a picture book for children that challenges gender roles and stereotypes!

This little girl likes to play however she wants, whether it's loud or fast, whether she makes a mess, whether she's a little rough and tumble. But because of the things she likes to do, people keep thinking she's a boy. Instead of not doing the things she enjoys because of what people think, she continues to do the things she loves, proudly declaring that she's a girl to those annoying people who get it wrong. While she's playing, she meets a boy who likes playing with dolls, and another boy who likes to wear skirts, and together they have fun, embracing who they are.

I am a massive believer in that children should be allowed to be children, and play however they wish rather than be forced into gender roles, only allowed to play in a way that's "right" for their gender. There is no right or wrong when it comes to playing, gender shouldn't come into it, and this book shows exactly that.

I love how the little girl keeps doing what she's doing. She's not cowed by the opinions of others, but stays true to herself. She gets annoyed by these people and defends herself. She doesn't doubt for a second that there's anything wrong with who she is and how she plays, and she is sets such a wonderful example for children reading.

I would have liked there to be a little more about the boys in the story though. When the girl is playing with dolls with a boy, another boy disparagingly says, "Dolls are for girls," to which the boy replies, "No they're not!" looking a little sad, while the little girl says, "I am a girl!" angrily. And with the boy who wears a grass skirt over his shorts, there's no reference to it, just the two characters being happy about how brilliant they are. If there isn't going to be a version of this book for boys, then I wish there had been a little more about boys playing in supposedly "girlie" ways/with "girls'" toys, as I think, generally, boys get the flak for stepping outside their gender roles more so than girls do.

A really fantastic book that every child should read if not own, to see it's ok for them to just be theselves.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for the review copy.

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Published: 13th August 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Yasmeen Ismail's Website


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