I Look Like a Girl, is written and illustrated by Sheila Hamanaka for girls 4 to 8 years. The text is lyrical and the illustrations are bold, vibrant and a bit wild, creating a masterpiece of a book. Sadly, the book is out of print, but it can be found in libraries and in the used books at Amazon.com.
Hamanaka’s book delivers the kind of message we want our daughters to hear — that they don’t have to wait for a prince. Like the wild animals the girls dream of, they are free to be anything they want to be. “I look like a girl…but I’m really a tiger, with a rumble a roar and a leap…a mustang, a wild horse on the mesa…I soar with the condors and know how it feels to be free…I am a jaguar creeping through the jungle of my dreams…if you look past the sugar and spice, you’ll see the eyes of a tiger.” This book is truly a celebration of life for young girls to dream and free the wild spirits within, so they can be who they are born to be. Hamanaka also is the author of another favorite book, All The Colors of the Earth, a celebration of diversity.
Amazing Grace, written by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Caroline Binch, is another favorite book from the past that speaks to the powerful years of girlhood and feeling fearless in pursuing their dreams. The text is beautifully written, and the illustrations show boldness, beauty and emotion.
Grace loves stories. Better yet, her imagination soars when she acts out the main characters of the stories. She goes to battle as Joan of Arc, weaves a wicked web as Anansi the Spider, sails the seas as a pirate and is Aladdin rubbing his magic lamp. At school, Grace’s teacher announces that the class will put on the play Peter Pan. When Grace raises her hand to show she wants to play Peter, the other kids tell her she can’t be Peter because he isn’t a girl or black. Crushed she goes home to her mother and grandmother, who remind her she has no limitations. Her grandmother plans a big surprise for Grace that inspires and opens her eyes to something important. She returns to school the next week for the auditions enthusiastic that anything is possible if she believes in herself.