You Matter

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
You Matter Book Poster Image
Beautiful message of self-worth has gorgeous illustrations.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The message that all beings have value is focused, repeated on every page, and told simply.

Positive Messages

Regardless of your size, race, level of success, or family situation, you are important. You matter.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Narrator continually tells readers that they are important. A Black girl is shown looking into a microscope. A Black female astronaut appears to think of her child back home on Earth. Once character is in a wheelchair. One girl wears a hijab. Kids of many colors are seen in various scenes.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that You Matter, by Caldecott Honor- and Newbery Medal-winning author-illustrator Christian Robinson is an uplifting picture book packed with vibrant illustrations and with a repeated, resounding, beautiful message of self-worth. The story, which moves from narrow to wide perspective, speaks to the feelings young (and old) readers have of being left out, of not being enough, or of not being important in the big world. The illustrations pull readers to the page and reflect the diversity of life in every scene: young and old, Black and Brown and White, small and large, city and nature and space. The simplest of phrases spark emotions and can be a prompt for meaningful conversations in families.

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What's the story?

YOU MATTER starts with a young Black girl looking under a microscope and the unseen narrator stating that all beings have value, from the smallest bug under the lens to a dinosaur away from its group, whether you succeed or fail, regardless of race or age, even when you feel alone. The perspective shifts to a wider view, to streets and parks and homes, and to an image from space, with an astronaut looking down on Earth and then a child looking up, feeling alone. The message of worth and connectivity is simple, repeated, and amplified by the vibrant illustrations dominating each page.

Is it any good?

This loving, inclusive message of connectedness is poignant and simple, and its warm, inclusive, and immersive illustrations give it even more of an impact. You Matter connects with young readers, reminding them that they are important even when they feel overlooked or when it seems like people are too busy to help them. The shift in perspective is a nice way to tell the story, moving from looking under the lens of a microscope to looking at Earth from space, and all of the places in between, where we are reminded that we do, in fact, matter. Some young readers will delight in seeing their beaded hair, wheelchair, or hijab represented in vibrant colors, or feel a little less alone when a loved one says goodbye. Or maybe the reader identifies with being the gassy planet. Regardless of the topic, this beautiful book seeks to connect, and succeeds masterfully.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different situations in You Matter. Have you ever felt left out or too small, like some of the characters on the pages?

  • What are some ways we can show other people that we think they matter?

  • What other books with great pictures have you read?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and self-esteem stories

Themes & Topics

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