As you would expect when dealing with a massive and traditional industry, change does not come overnight. What's exciting, though, is that CHANGE really IS coming. One example is a picture book release that might well have made it into print before this movement but now should be met with genuine fanfare, for good reasons.
|Running Press Kids, 2016|
"Beautiful girls have the perfect look."
McAnulty relies on the illustrations to display the ironic and humorous intent of her statements and illustrator Lew-Vriethoff does not disappoint.
|Interior spread, used with permission|
"Beautiful girls smell like flowers."
|Interior spread, used with premission|
Beautiful girls know all about make-up.
I'm curious about the pitch-line McAnulty must have used to convey the clever irony of her text. This is one of the best examples of the magical symbiosis of image and text in the picture book format. Lew-Vriethoff's vibrant, dynamic young girls would leap off the pages except that these characters are so fully engaged with their own fantastic activities and with each other that they can't be bothered to worry about those holding the book in their hands. Their energy, independence, and acceptance of themselves and others are an inspiration to anyone, any gender, and any age.
Whether this picture book came about due to rising consciousness about diversity within the publishing community or if it had been a work-in-progress for decades that finally found its publisher match, it is long overdue and should be a welcome addition to collections in classrooms, libraries, and homes. That includes putting this one into the hands of older readers, including adults who've lost touch with the limitless nature and potential of children who happen to be girls.
Just ask yourself how often a girl-child's image is posted on social media then generates comments focused on many of these entrenched labels: She's so... beautiful, sweet, lovely. Could we all take a moment's reflection before reverting to those responses and encourage less superficial and stereotypical labels? She's so... curious, energetic, athletic, clever, friendly?
See what others think about this concept book when you check out other stops on the blog tour welcoming these beautiful girls into the world of books:
BEAUTIFUL blog tour
8/29 Flowering Minds
8/30 Kids’ Book Review
8/31 My Word Playground
9/1 Stacking Books
9/6 Geo Librarian