Monday, September 27, 2010

My Name is Not Isabella

Jennifer Fosberry; Illustrations by Mike Litwin

A fairy princess. A ballerina. Those are the answers I most often hear when little girls are asked what they want to be when they grow up.  Umm ... not too many openings for princesses in the real world, unless you want to work for Walt Disney.  Leave it to a physics major and retired engineer turned author to give us some much better options.

When this little girl wakes up one morning, she insists her mother is not to call her Isabella.  She is Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut in the United States to travel in outer space. After that, Isabella wants to try out becoming all sorts of different and yet equally amazing women.  She eats breakfast as brave Annie Oakley, rides the bus as the great activist Rosa Parks, and completes her homework as the brilliant scientist Marie Curie. This girl has a fine imagination, doesn't she?      

Isabella's mother doesn't bat an eye at the appearance of all these famous women, but just rolls with the punches.  She serves cookies to Marie Curie and asks Elizabeth Blackwell to help her set the table.  I would guess she is used to Isabella's grand imagination and likes to encourage her daughter to dream big.  It must be making a big impression on her daughter, because the last person Isabella takes on at the end of a long day is "Mommy, the greatest, sweetest mother who ever was."

What a wonderful book to showcase some important ladies of history.  Jennifer Fosberry was moved to create this story when she thought about the kinds of women she believed her daughter could be.  The last two pages provide more information about each woman, so readers can learn about their achievements. I love that this book is a departure from the typical pink and princess girl books.  Isabella sports a purple hair and wears wild-patterned eclectic ensembles.  More importantly, she also dreams big and believes in herself!

This is a cool trailer because instead of a page by page view of the book, this shows the progression of just one page of illustrations for the book: concept sketch, tweaking, addition of color, scan into photoshop, more additions and adjustments, etc.  Really neat!   

Review copy provided by Sourcebooks. 

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