About the Holiday
This month-long holiday encourages people to think about what makes them happy and then go out and do it. The holiday also reminds us that happiness can be found in the simplest things and at random times – as long as we’re aware of and open to the wonder in our surroundings. An important part of finding fulfillment and happiness is being true to oneself. Today’s book inspires kids to do just that.
A Girl Like You
Written by Frank Murphy and Carla Murphy | Illustrated by Kayla Harren
When you think of all the “billions and billions and billions of people in the world,” do you think about your place among them? You should, because “…you are the only YOU there is! And the world needs a girl like you.” What does this mean? It means you be you, a… “brave girl” who tries new things to discover what you like and what you’re good at. It takes hard work and lots of trial and error, but “mistakes are essential to success. So stick with it” no matter what you choose to do. By picking yourself up whenever you fall, “you’ll become tougher and stronger” and able to make your dreams come true.
When you’re a “bold girl,” you can lend your voice and your actions to influencing causes that are important to you. Being bold also means choosing kind friends and being kind in return. Sometimes this will mean saying “sorry when you’re wrong or hurtful,” but it’s important to learn not to “make a habit of saying sorry for no reason.” Being a good friend can mean being quiet—like when someone needs to be heard or comforted. It also means being loud—like when a celebration is in order.
A “smart girl” is mindful of her feelings, and whether you’re “bored or lonely or sad” there are things you can do by yourself and with others to reach out and “take care of your heart.” Taking care of your body is important too so that your beauty shines. Don’t let others tell you what to wear or how to fix your hair. These are parts of you that “help you express yourself. So whatever you wear, wear it for you.” And, perhaps most important of all, remember to always “take pride in being the one and only you.” Because “the world needs a girl like you.”
An Authors’ Note about their inspiration for the book as well as a suggestion for a thoughtful Writing Activity follows the story.
In this follow-up to A Boy Like You, Frank Murphy and Carla Murphy inspire girls to shake off preconceived notions of what a girl is and be true to their own feelings, talents, body image, likes, and dislikes in order to become the person they can and want to be. Framed by active adjectives that give readers touchstones to reach for and build on, the inspirational text highlights realistic situations that every child experiences as they navigate friendships, school, activities, and self-discovery. The specificity of the language is especially welcome as it speaks directly to the questions, conflicts, successes, and encounters kids have every day. The final reminder, directed sincerely at the reader, circles back to the beginning of the book and reinforces the idea that they are needed and inherently exceptional.
Kayla Harren is a master at portraying people in all of their individual beauty. Here, on first spread, a crowd spills off the edges of the pages as a single girl and her puppy stand out as she looks to join in. Subsequent illustrations follow this girl as she explores opportunities, crafts, sports, and other activities, sometimes alone and often with a group of friends. These group images are stirring for their diversity in ethnicity, body type, abilities, and expressions. Each page gives children and adults much to discuss, and the story’s open framework invites rereading when a child needs attention or conversation about a specific event or emotion they experience.
A moving and inspirational book to own for its wide applicability across years of growth and development, A Girl Like You is highly recommended for home, classroom, and public library collections. Sharing both books in this series with children can spark important discussions about, understanding of, and appreciation for the pressures and influences that all kids experience.
Ages 5 – 7
Sleeping Bear Press, 2020 | ISBN 978-1534110960
Discover more about Frank Murphy and his books on his website.
To learn more about Kayla Harren, her books, and her art, visit her website.
Happiness Happens Month Activity
Happiness is all around you! Grab one or more friends to play a game that reveals what things make you happy. Here are two ways to play:
- Like the “Geography” game: the first player names something that makes them happy, the next player must think of something that starts with the last letter of the word the previous player said. The game continues with each player continuing the pattern. Players drop out as they cannot think of a word. The last player left is the winner.
- Using a time limit (depending on age): players must think of something that makes them happy. Players drop out if they cannot think of a word within the time limit. The last player left is the winner.
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