Title: BLUEBERRY GIRL
Written by: Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by: Charles Vess
Harper, 2009, fiction
For Ages: 2 and UP
Themes/Topics: lullabies, prayers, invocations, girls, creativity, freedom, beauty, joy, nature, parenthood, childhood, aging
Ladies of light and ladies of darkness and ladies of never-you mind,
this is a prayer for a blueberry girl.
Summary (from publisher):
“This is a prayer for a blueberry girl . . .
A much-loved baby grows into a young woman: brave, adventurous, and lucky. Exploring, traveling, bathed in sunshine, surrounded by the wonders of the world. What every new parent or parent-to-be dreams of for her child, what every girl dreams of for herself.
Let me go places that we’ve never been, trust and delight in her youth.
Nationally bestselling author Neil Gaiman wrote Blueberry Girl for a friend who was about to become the mother of a little girl. Here, he and beloved illustrator Charles Vess turn this deeply personal wish for a new daughter into a book that celebrates the glory of growing up: a perfect gift for girls embarking on all the journeys of life, for their parents, and for everyone who loves them.
Give her all these and a little bit more, gifts for a blueberry girl.”
Why I Like This Book: My sister gave me this book when my daughter was a baby, and I’ve read this beautiful prayer to Violet – and to myself – many times. I love the refrain, “This is a prayer for a blueberry girl,” and the emotional appeal to the “ladies” to both keep her from things like “dull days at forty, false friends at fifteen,” but also to “let her tell stories and dance in the rain, somersault, tumble, and run.” The story doesn’t pretend that everything will be rosy throughout this girl’s life, but implores the ladies to help her to find truth, seek adventure, and dream big. It’s a gorgeous exploration of our hopes for our daughters.
I love that Charles Vess changes the skin and hair color of the “blueberry girl” with each new page so that any parent can see their child and any girl can see herself in this book.
Best-selling author Neil Gaiman wrote this book for his friend singer-songwriter Tori Amos, when she was pregnant with her daughter, Tash. For me, that detail makes the story even more beautiful because I love Tori Amos’s music and her songs resonated with me and helped me through a tough time in my twenties.
Resources: Check out A Mighty Girl (http://www.amightygirl.com/), described as “the world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls,” it’s a great resource for supporting and celebrating girls and women. Their Facebook page is also fantastic: https://www.facebook.com/amightygirl/.
(For a LARGE list of links to picture book reviews, along with resources, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s site: http://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/.)