A Girl Like Me

by Angela Johnson (Author) Nina Crews (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Empower young readers to embrace their individuality, reject societal limitations, and follow their dreams. This inspiring picture book brings together a poem by acclaimed author Angela Johnson and Nina Crews's distinctive photocollage illustrations to celebrate girls of color.

"Once I dreamed I swam / the ocean / and saw everything deep, cool / and was part of the waves. / I swam on by the people / onshore / hollering, / 'A girl like you needs to / stay out of the water / and be dry / like everyone else.'"

This book is currently unavailable.

Find books about:

Publishers Weekly

Poet Johnson (Heaven) bridges fanciful aspirations and attainable goals in this inclusive portrait of girlhood. "I always dream" opens the airy, free-verse narrative. In collages superimposing crisp photos against swirling abstract backdrops, Crews (Seeing into Tomorrow) portrays a girl flying through the air in a red cape, another walking atop skyscrapers, and a third swimming in the ocean, becoming "part of the waves," while onshore onlookers holler, "A girl like you needs to/ stay out of the water/ and be dry, / like everyone else." The collaborators bring the tone down to earth as the kids react to unseen naysayers who discourage their dreams. In affirmations of their spirit of curiosity and adventure, the girls don vibrant clothing and funky hats as they skip down city streets and frolic by the ocean, always "thinking/ way up/ high/ and making/ everything/ better than/ the dream." The book concludes with a roundup of the subjects and personal statements about their personalities, favorite things, and ambitions, inviting readers' own self-reflections. A blithe celebration of individuality, guts, and sisterhood. Ages 5-10. Author's agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. Illustrator's agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Feb.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--Black girls lead the way in this story about defining oneself and making the world a better place. Three girls take turns sharing their dreams about flying high, standing tall, and being free. Each girl's dream is scuttled by people telling her that "a girl like you" should not be doing the amazing things she does in her dreams, that "a girl like you" should be like everyone else. "Once I dreamed I swam/the ocean/and saw everything deep, /cool/ and was part of the waves. I swam on by the people/onshore hollering, 'A girl like you needs to/stay out of the water/and be dry, /like everyone else.'" The three boldly take charge of their dreams. They gather the capes, hats, and scarves that represent them and expand their visions to include other girls as they proudly take up space in the world, sure of their value and confident in their power to create real-world change. Crews's signature photo-collage style is the perfect artistic choice for this book, using photos of real girls and beautiful cityscapes in combination with recurring shapes, textures, and symbols that tie the dreamy spreads in with the real-world ones. VERDICT An excellent addition for all collections.--Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

As the story goes on, more young women join the scenes, offering an ever-broadening depiction of girlhood; the closing spread, featuring headshots of each of the participants, coupled with her own words about her dreams, grounds this interpretation in the lived realities of real children. This is not trite girl-power pablum; it's a rallying cry for girls to reject limitations others might place on them and their dreams.—starred, The Horn Book Magazine

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Millbrook Press (Tm)
Publication date
February 04, 2020
BISAC categories
POE005010 - Poetry | American | General
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
Children's poetry, American
Hispanic Americans
Asian Americans
Teacher Librarian

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!