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Monday, February 14, 2011

my name is not Isabella, written by Jennifer Fosberry and illustrated by Mike Litwin. Sourcebooks, Raincoast. 2010. $$19.99 ages 6 and up

""I am ROSA, the greatest, bravest
activist who ever was!
"Well, Rosa, MARCH out there and
take your seat on the bus."
"Welcome home, Rosa," the
mother said. "Did you have a nice
day at school?"
"My name is not Rosa!"
said the little girl."
Just how big can a little girl dream? As big as she wants!

I love it when a new book inspires its readers with imagination, wit and wonderful language. It's sub-title is 'Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?' and Isabella can dream big! It is an inspiration to any child who believes in being the best that she can be...and the message will not be lost on the boys and men who read it either. It might even work as a mentor text for anyone wanting to do research about those who have made our world a better place.

Isabella pretends to be a different wonderful woman each day, and she has a considerate, understanding and very supportive mother. The women that she chooses to portray are famous for feats of bravery, kindness, tenacity and intelligence. We don't know who they are modelled on until the end matter, but we can certainly guess at their identity while sharing this carefully drawn, brightly colored homage to some of our great female role models.

We first meet a remarkable Isabella-like young lady named Sally and the clues provided are astronaut, spacesuit, blast. Just when Mom thinks she has the right name again, Isabella is quick to reject that identity and invent another. The famous women are Sally Ride, Annie Oakley, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Blackwell and well, Mommy!
Isabella has the final say, as is usual in this heartwarming and charming story:

"It's me, Isabella, the sweetest, kindest, smartest, bravest, fastest, toughest, greatest girl that ever was, " said the little girl as she fell asleep and dreamed about who she would be...


Following the text, Jennifer Fosberry includes a short biography of the five women here honored, and of a Mommy. She follows up by acknowledging all women who work to make change happen and a list of the works she consulted in the writing of this lively book

I dedicate this post to Nan who helped me learn to be the best I could be...and to Erin, my own 'sweetie pie, honeybunch, angel face, lover girl'.

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