A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows how individual kids can make a difference in was bih=g and small.
You're just one person, but you can take one action to start a journey or a friendship, to connect with others, to care, to lead. One good action can inspire many more, and change can spread like ripples in water until it's movement.
Positive Role Models
The main character, a Black child with short locs, models how one person can make a difference through their actions as they tear down a wall, make a friend, show kindness, lead, and work with others to make something beautiful. No gender pronouns are used, and gender isn't obvious in illustrations either. Other kids sport blue and pink hair and represent many skin colors. One child wears an abaya and headscarf.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Am One: A Book of Action, by author-illustrator team Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds, celebrates the power of action to inspire change. From the popular I Am Books collection (I Am Love), this story follows a compassionate kid discovering how "just one" act can start a garden, a song, a friendship, a ripple, and, even, a collective action. The main character is Black with short locs, and other characters represent various skin colors, lack starkly defined genders, and sport black, brown, red, pink and blue hair in a variety of styles. One character is shown in an abaya (a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world) and headscarf. This is a great choice for elementary-age kids, especially those interested in activism and social change.
Is It Any Good?
This timely, compelling book gently encourages young readers to engage in small (or large) actions that inspire change. A loose storyline will help keep children engaged, and they'll root for the sweet kid who sets out to make their world more just, peaceful, and beautiful. The avoidance of gender in text and pictures is strikingly inclusive, and in line with the diverse cast of characters that populate the pages. Author Susan Verde's repetitious sentence structure, which breaks midway into something more flowing and fluid, has a lovely rhythm throughout. Readers will enjoy following the connections between Peter Reynold's lively, bold-colored illustrations. Fans of the series should look for the main characters of the other books who appear as supporting characters in this one.
Some grown-ups might raise an eyebrow at the use of social and political symbols (e.g. tearing down a wall, crossing borders, a tree the color of a rainbow), but I Am One can be a useful tool to talk with young kids about current events and family values. A great read for all the little change-makers of tomorrow.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.