Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. ~ Dr. Seuss







My Forgotten Self

line My Forgotten Self
by Lynyetta G. Willis PhD (Author), Michele Phillips (Illustrator)
My Forgotten Self cover

 My Forgotten Self is the story about a girl Tiev and her journey into self discovery. The story begins with Tiev wondering what she would be when she grew up. She discovers many wonderful things that she wants to do. An explorer or a performer, maybe an artist or a teacher. However, she discovers that every time she shares her dream with her near and dear ones, they discourage her or demotivate her. Finally, one day she shares her dream with her grandmother who encourages Tiev to do “more”. Tiev hears her own inner voice re-assuring her that she could succeed at many things.

I struggled hard to enjoy this story line. I also didn’t find kid appeal in the book. I like the idea or the theme of self-discovery, however, the predominant negative theme that the book opens with was not appealing. The author clearly had good intentions and a strong desire to empower children in the face of negativity. However, there was so much lacking that it left me disappointed.

First, this was a story of a young girl of color deduced only through artwork. This book was also presented as a “Diversity” reading. However no where in the story does the character stand out based on her background or culture. Just because the book is about a child of color, does not equate to building an understanding of culture. It did seem like a lost opportunity.

Secondly, the title “My Forgotten Self” itself felt misrepresented. I expected the child to follow a path not of her choosing and then course correct as a matter of self discovery — hence the title “Forgotten Self”. However, that was not the case.

Also, I really failed to see the kid appeal. To relate such a challenging abstract concepts as “self discovery” or “empowerment” and “enlightenment”; there needs to be extremely strong story telling AND character building.

Finally, I would love for this work to really come to life. The idea of showing choices but being beaten down by reality .. the theme had such potential. I wish the illustrations had brought that to life.

Overall, I felt really let down by “My Forgotten Self”. I wish there was more and that the author / illustrator had put more thought into the character building as well as showcasing the situation better.

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!

 From MCCBD team:

Our Mission: The MCCBD team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.

The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.

Sponsor Mentions

Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld

Platinum: Wisdom Tales Press * StoryQuest Books*Lil Libros

Gold: Author Tori Nighthawk*Candlewick Press

Silver: Lee and Low Books*Chronicle Books*Capstone Young Readers

Bronze: Pomelo BooksAuthor Jacqueline Woodson*Papa Lemon BooksGoosebottom Books*Author Gleeson Rebello*ShoutMouse Press*Author Mahvash ShaheghChina Institute.org*

CoHostsMulticultural Children’s Book Day has 12 amazing Co-Host and you can view them here.

Classroom Reading Challenge:Help spread the word on our  Classroom Reading Challenge . This very special offering from MCCBD offers teachers and classrooms the chance to (very easily) earn a free hardcover multicultural children’s book for their classroom library. These books are not only donated by the Junior Library Guild, but they are pre-screened and approved by them as well.


2 comments

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  1. Shonda Stephenson

    Hi Reshamad,
     
    Let me start my saying that I LOVE your blog. I have been reading your posts for quite some time, and I really enjoy your perspective. I have made some wonderful purchases for my two children (6 & based upon your reviews.  I felt intrigued by the plot line and your viewpoint and actually purchased the ebook.  That being said, I felt compelled to write a response because I disagree with some of your points; some that I feel are important in multicultural children’s literature.  
     
    First, I disagree with your statement that the character doesn’t stand out based on her background or culture.” In contrast, the story just doesn’t place the child in a stereotypical African American environment, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing. I think that the prior lack of faces of color in children’s lit has been replaced with stereotypical representations, and this bothers me. As a Black woman myself I do not need every Black character presented in an urban environment, dancing, using urban vernacular, or eating stereotypically black foods. I honestly found it refreshing that this was simply a normal girl, who happens to be Black, sitting in her room daydreaming and dealing with discouragement.
     
    Second, I think the book does touch on a piece of “diversity” that is often overlooked, especially in children’s lit…SPIRITUALITY!  I agree, this is a hard topic to tackle with children because it is so esoteric but in my situation it opened the door for a very interesting conversation with my children. Additionally, the varied characters in the artwork were very diverse, as you agreed, which was nice.
     
    Lastly, my 6 & 8 year olds truly enjoyed the story! I only mention this because you wondered about the “kid appeal.” I had wondered how they would take the beginning because the little girl was told she could not do what she wanted, but I found they strongly disagreed with the family (which made me feel like a great mom…teehee) and it led to a few surprising questions!
     
    Overall, I would like to thank you for writing this review, I think it starts a really good discussion on what we mean when we use words like “culture” and “diverse” and how we can avoid stereotypically representations within our cultures while open-mindedly defining “diversity.”

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    • reshamad

      Shonda, thanks for stopping by and reading my review and presenting an alternate opinion. As you know from my blog, I have featured and reviewed many wonderful books around multi-cultural literacy and diversity.
      I absolutely agree with you on the fact that we need more normal books with POC in them. However, in this case, “My Forgotten Self” was presented to me as a reading celebrating cultural diversity. I struggled to find the subject relevant in this book.
      I do have to admit that I had not thought about “spirituality” as being a discussion around “diversity”. So thank you for bringing that to my attention.
      Hoping to find more books that sets a new normal for the next generation

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