I Love Me!

Authored by Marvyn Harrison
Illustrated by Diane Ewen
Published by Macmillan

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The title I Love Me signals the positivity of this book. Every morning two children and their father look in the mirror and say things to make them feel good about themselves. The sturdy language and energetic illustrations take young readers and their parents, or other adults who care for them, through every day of the week with a different positive message for each day. The appealing images of lively, secure children going through their everyday routines perfectly complement the direct message of the importance of self-belief and affirmation.

There is much to relish in this book, not only the upbeat tone intended to support the development of children’s self-esteem, but also the richness of detail in the illustrations. Marvyn Harrison, founder of Dope Black Dads, an online supportive forum about mental health and male parenting, and Diane Ewen, illustrator of Floella Benjamin’s Coming to England, have designed this book for pre-school children and their parents and carers which models the language and experience of positive self-affirmation, even in the face of sadness. An extra fold-out spread of speech bubbles offers children examples of things they can say to help them feel good about themselves and there are suggestions for adults about how to use the book to help children develop as strong, resilient and mentally healthy individuals. It also offers suggestions about ways of reading the book with children: looking for details in the illustrations, sharing just one or two double page spreads that children particularly like, or using the ideas to start conversations.

I’m always a little a wary of books that are written to carry specific messages because sometimes the message can get in the way of the narrative, but in this case the simple exploration of everyday routines, coupled with the crisp and colourful images, manages to encourage a sense of positivity without sentimentality. The starry, primary-coloured end papers act as a perfect mood setter for this innovative and uplifting book which would be a useful resource in early years settings as well as an enjoyable book to share at home – and the message about affirmation is perhaps just as important for adults, too.

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