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why am i me

After a summer hiatus, I’m happy to be back with this gorgeous gem for Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF). Back in the day, I worked with WHY AM I ME? author Paige Britt and I was struck then by her infectious joy, her compassion, and her curiosity. Those elements shine through in WHY AM I ME? The questions she poses in the book are deep and compassionate. And the artwork by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko exquisitely depict the journey – physical, mental, spiritual – our two main characters take in the story.

Title: WHY AM I ME?

Words by: Paige Britt

Pictures by: Sean Qualls & Selina Alko

Scholastic Press, 2017, fiction

For Ages: 3 and UP

Themes/Topics: identity, self/others, curiosity, questions, wonder, empathy, compassion, connection, love, diversity, tolerance

First spread:

Why am I me…

…and not you?

Summary (from publisher):

“Presented as a thoughtful, poetic exchange between two characters — who don’t realize they are thinking and asking the very same questions — this beautiful celebration of our humanity and diversity invites readers of all ages to imagine a world where there is no you or me, only we.

If the first step toward healing the world is to build bridges of empathy and celebrate rather than discriminate, Why Am I Me? helps foster a much-needed sense of connection, compassion, and love.”

Why I Love This Book: For some reason, my son seems to come up with his “big questions” just after I tuck him in, shut off his light, and start to close his door. “What does infinity look like?” he’ll ask. Or “Where was I before I was born?” I love these questions and I’ll come back in, sit on his bed, and we’ll talk for awhile. I admire books that invite kids (and adults) to ask “big questions” and this one asks the reader to consider the very essence of identity. Why Am I Me? encourages us to ponder why we are who we are, and further, “Why are you, you…and not me?” The illustrations are a vivid visual feast and suggest, I think, the beauty of not just “you” and “me” but of where we connect and intersect – where “you” and “me” become “we.”


(For a LONG 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/.)