What I Am

by Divya Srinivasan (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

The creator of Little Owl's Night explores and celebrates the complexities of what makes us who we are in this comforting and thoughtful picture book.

A young narrator describes herself: a girl, a granddaughter, Indian, and American. Soon, we see the young girl as a plethora of things: selfish and generous, mean and kind, brave and mischievous. While many of these qualities oppose each other, the context and illustrations make it abundantly clear that she speaks the truth. She is a walking contradiction, and that is precisely what makes her both a unique individual and an essential piece of the greater world around her. Divya Srinivasan shows what makes us human and proud to be who we are.

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School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2--The young narrator opens the story by describing her various attributes: a human, a girl, a daughter, a granddaughter. She then begins to explore a series of intangible, seemingly opposite qualities: selfish and generous, mean and kind, a scaredy-cat and brave. The gorgeous, colorful illustrations clearly convey these complexities and contradictions that define and exist simultaneously within a person: the protagonist likes to dance and sing in front of family, but does not like to dance or sing in front of a crowd. She does not want to go to parties, but then does not want to leave the party. The story's stunning conclusion will inspire readers to proudly be who they are and provide plenty of discussion opportunities for readers. This book is an outstanding and affirming story. Back matter includes an author's note describing the incident that inspired the book. VERDICT Srinivasan's latest offering is a universal story that belongs in all collections.--Olivia Gorecke, Cape May Cty. Lib., Ocean View, NJ

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Divya Srinivasan
Divya Srinivasan lives in Austin, Texas. Her illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, and she has done work for This American Life, They Might Be Giants, Sundance Channel, Sufjan Stevens, and Weird Al Yankovic, among others. Divya was also an animator on the film Waking Life. She is the author and illustrator of the picture books What I Am, Little Owl's Night, Little Owl's Day, Little Owl's Snow, and Octopus Alone, and she illustrated the picture book Cinnamon, written by Neil Gaiman. More of Divya's work can be seen at pupae.com.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date
August 03, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV039140 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
JUV039220 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Values & Virtues
JUV074000 - Juvenile Fiction | Diversity & Multicultural
Library of Congress categories
ALSC Notable Children's Book
Selection 2022

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