As the only Black child among her classmates, the young narrator feels singled out when the class starts learning about slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. Family stories remind her of how lucky she is to be in school, but that does not answer her question: "Is that all you see when you look at me?"
This powerfully written and beautifully illustrated book is absolutely amazing. It is not only an outstanding ode to the courage and strength of generations of Black people who fought for their freedom and equal rights, but also a permission to new and future generations of Black children, who feel like they are only seen as a reflection of the past, to be proud of who they are now and who they want to be.
An uplifting message of hope for the future and pride in your history, inspired by a mother's experience of being the only Black child in her classroom.
Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
Emphasizing the strength, creativity, and courage passed down through generations, A History of Me offers a joyful new perspective on how we look at history and an uplifting message for the future.
Being the only brown girl in a classroom full of white students can be hard. When the teacher talks about slavery and civil rights, she can feel all the other students' eyes on her. In those moments she wants to seep into the ground, wondering, is that all you see when you look at me?
Having gone through the same experiences, the girl's mother offers a different, empowering point of view: she is a reflection of the powerful women that have come before her, of the intelligence, resilience, and resourcefulness that have been passed down through the generations. Her history is a source of pride, a reason to sit up straight and recognize everything beautiful and powerful in herself.
What really matters is what we see when we look in the mirror, and what we want to become.
Inspired by the authors' experiences in school and as a parent, Adrea Theodore’s debut picture book is a powerful testament to the past as well as a benediction for the future. Erin Robinson's digital illustrations feature a wealth of texture and a bold, saturated palette, bringing this warm message of empowerment to life.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
About the Author
Adrea Theodore is a mother, a pediatrician, and with the publication of A History of Me, an author of books for children. Growing up on Long Island, she was the kind of girl who almost always had a book in her hand, a library card in her pocket, and a stack of books in the corner waiting to be read — or returned for more books. She currently lives in Durham, North Carolina where she works with children at a local child advocacy center.
Erin K Robinson is the illustrator of Brave. Black. First: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World by Cheryl Hudson. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among other publications, and has been nominated for an Emmy in the News and Documentary category. Trained at the Parsons School of Design and the Corcoran School of Art. Erin splits her time between Brooklyn, NY, and Washington, DC.
★ "Robinson skillfully illuminates the book’s many strands of history. . . . The narrator is a quietly thoughtful force to be reckoned with. A History of Me is a moving reminder of what we gain when we draw strength and inspiration from the past."—BookPage, Starred Review
★ "The book wraps children in the lived experience then and now. Digitally rendered illustrations shine with the love and pride of the book’s message, honoring history while also empowering young brown children to seek a dazzling future. This title powerfully places history in a light that honors the past, challenges the way history is taught, and looks forward. Inspirational."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
"[A] poetic debut informed by Theodore’s own life as well as that of her daughter. . . . Refrains emphasize the child’s isolation and resolve, punctuated by Robinson’s textured digital illustrations, before an affirmative ending."—Publishers Weekly
"A child discovers how to rise above isolation at school in a compassionate and rewarding picture book that portrays how self-esteem and racial pride intersect."—Shelf Awareness
"An uplifting pep talk of a book. . . ."—Booklist
"A love letter of recognition to children of color. . . . The colors go from subdued to vibrant, with the protagonist’s daughter shown on one page as an almost literal beam of light"—The Horn Book
"An empowering picture book seeks to instill pride in the descendants of enslaved people. . . . This emotionally honest look at the challenges of processing historical injustice and racial trauma provides a much-needed mirror for Black students, but anyone who has ever felt trapped by other people’s definitions of who they are can relate to the story on some level. . . . An uplifting story that rightfully asserts the multidimensionality of Black identity."—Kirkus Reviews