whatsspecialaboutmemama

What’s Special about Me, Mama? by Kristina Evans, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

A child asks his mother what makes him unique.  She responds, “So many things, Love.”  He asks for examples.  She tells him that his eyes are unique, because they tell stories without words.  He dismisses that answer because he has always been told he has her eyes, so that’s not unique.  His mother goes on to talk about his skin color, which is just like his father’s.  Then his freckles, which are like Auntie Jade’s.  His hair is like his grandmother.  She starts to talk about the things he does, his special behaviors.  He continues to ask for more, until she explains that there is nothing little about love and that he is loved more than anyone in the world. 

The beautiful words by Evans have a rhythmic quality to them, a to and fro that works especially well here.  The conversation has its own ebb and flow, and then the mother speaks in a poetic and joyous way about her son.  It is a book that really speaks to the worth and special qualities of all children, but also of this specific one. 

Steptoe’s illustrations are done in collage and feature many different shades of skin the the same family.  The illustrations have bold colors and strong lines.  Done in crinkled paper, they have a texture and heft to them that is gorgeous.  I should also mention that the illustrations do not make it clear if the child is a boy or girl, making the book even more adaptable and interesting.

A joyous look at what makes someone special and unique, this book will have you smiling with its bright colors and embracing message.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.