Children’s Book Week is celebrated twice a year, one week in May and one week in November. Kids everywhere can join in the fun of Children’s Book Week. The How Do You Book? Challenge asks young readers to explore what they read, how they read, and where they read. For more information about Children’s Book Week, click HERE. This week, I’ll be sharing several books in celebration of Children’s Book Week. Click HERE to see previous Children’s Book Week Posts.
Two Lions is a frequent publisher of children’s books that I’ve shared here on the blog. I want to be sure you know about this amazing deal they are offering during Children’s Book Week. Click the photo below to see all of the FREE children’s eBooks, many of which I’ve raved about here. This list includes today’s book, I AM ABLE TO SHINE as well.
I AM ABLE TO SHINE
By: Korey Watari
Illustrated by: Mike Wu
Published: May 1, 2022
Publisher: Two Lions
To any child who has felt different or left out, Keiko’s story is for you. A young Asian American girl struggles with feeling a part of her neighborhood, her school, and her sports teams. She just wants to have a voice and have that voice heard.
Keiko talks to her origami crane and expresses her hopes and dreams. In Japanese culture, an origami crane is said to help make one’s heart’s desire come true. The pages of this book are full of cranes and other parts of Japanese culture including cherry blossoms, Kimonos, and other origami.
Keiko learns living in the shadows of others won’t get her anywhere. She begins to stand up for herself and make sure her voice is heard. She begins to share her origami with others and soon, she is proud of her Japanese culture and gains friends.
As Keiko grows up, she sees that she can be and do anything she puts her mind to. She is able to shine! She will also learn the importance of sharing her history and her love with her own child reminding her she can soar, shine, and be free.
This book offers such an important message to any child who feels different whether due to poverty, ethnicity, body size, or abilities. Even though this message focuses on the Japanese culture, kids will identify with the expressions created by Mike Wu when Keiko is feeling left out, hurt, embarrassed, and eventually proud and happy.
The author includes a note at the end explaining this story is roughly based on her own childhood. She also shares a glossary of terms from the Japanese culture. Be sure to share this inspiring book with all the children in your life.
Husband-and-wife team Korey Watari and Mike Wu live in the San Francisco Bay Area in California with their two lively daughters. This is their first picture book together. Korey is a sansei, or third-generation Japanese American, born and raised in Los Angeles. She played basketball for a Japanese American League, graduated from the University of California Riverside, and studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Korey has worked in the animation and fashion industries for companies such as Disney and the Gap. This is her first picture book. Check out her website, HERE.
Mike is the author and illustrator of the acclaimed, bestselling Ellie series, the first picture book of which was named one of NPR’s best books of the year. He is also a Pixar artist and has worked on films including The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Toy Story 3, Coco, and Soul. His illustrations have been hailed as “reminiscent of classics like Harry the Dirty Dog and Curious George.” Visit his website, HERE.