Just be yourself
Just be yourself. We all have probably offered that bit of advice to the young people in our lives at some point. I know I have said it to my daughter. But sometimes being yourself isn’t easy.
Just ask Henny. She’s a hen, of course, but she isn’t like the other chickens. She was born with arms. You might think that being born with arms is a good thing, but when you are a chicken, arms just get in the way. Eventually, Henny learns that having arms isn’t really so bad. She can help the farmer in ways that she couldn’t if she had wings. It turns out that she can find a way to do anything she wants to do. The absurdity of a chicken having arms instead of wings might seem a little odd, but this book pulls it off with charm. It just may encourage kids who are different in some way themselves to have confidence that being different is okay.
Janine is different. She’s one of a kind. She dresses the way she wants and doesn’t worry about being popular or cool. Janine is friendly and kind to everyone. At first, her unusual style and inclusiveness set her apart from her classmates who tell her “No one dresses like that” and “No one hangs out with them.” Janine doesn’t falter. She says, “I do!” with enthusiasm. When one of the popular girls tells Janine she has to change, Janine answers with a firm “I do not!” At the end, Janine wins over her classmates with her confidence and good attitude. When she asks who wants to come to her party, they all answer, “I do!”
Be sure to check out Janine’s Party for more about the book and the real-life inspiration for the story, and how to use this book to promote inclusiveness for all, especially kids with disabilities. Janine’s story is a tribute to individuality that models resilience and confidence for kids. As Janine would say: “Be your spectacular self!”
Books mentioned and a few more titles to encourage kids to be their spectacular selves:
Froodle by Antoinette Portis. 2014. 9781596439221. Gr. K-2
Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton. January 2014. 9781442484368. Gr. Ps-2
Janine. by Maryann Cocca-Leffler. March 2015. 9780807537541. Gr. Ps-2
Some Monsters are Different by David Milgrim. 2013. 9780805095197. Gr. Ps-K
Wild About Us by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by Janet Stevens. April 2015. 9780152062941. Gr. Ps-2