You're Strong with Me

by Chitra Soundar (Author) Poonam Mistry (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

A mother giraffe and her young calf explore the African savanna. The rain clouds are long gone and the dry season scorches the land. Everything is new for the baby giraffe. As she bounds ahead and lags behind, her mother patiently explains the ways of the grasslands. And until she grows a little taller, older, and wiser, her mother reminds her: "You're strong with me." From the makers of award-winning You're Safe With Me and Kirkus Best Picture Book of the Year, You're Snug With Me. "Reassuring and visually stunning"--Youth Services Book Review

"Unique and unreservedly recommended"--Midwest Book Review

"Full of stunning illustrations, it is a wonderfully reassuring story, perfect for sharing"--North Somerset Teachers' Book Award

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Kirkus Reviews

A book to excite children about animal life and reassure them of the lasting love from elders. (Picture book. 4-7)

Copyright 2019 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission

Review quotes

A mother giraffe gently instructs her child in the proper techniques for adapting to her grassland environment.She teaches the baby giraffe to become aware of other animals, both friends and foes, and how to drink from a creek. She tells her baby about fire, both its dangers and its positive qualities. The baby giraffe complains when an oxpecker (a bird that often has a symbiotic relationship with giraffes) lands on her back, saying 'But it hurts!' The mother soothingly answers: 'As you grow older, your coat will get thicker and this will be just a tickle. Until then, you're strong with me.' This phrase serves as a refrain throughout the book, just as similar comforting phrases were woven into the partnering author and illustrator's previous books You're Safe With Me and You're Snug With Me (both 2018). Soundar and Mistry create an entirely original work here, shifting to a different world region and finding just enough danger and new experiences for a baby animal to encounter, with a mother always nearby to make sure her little one carefully learns what she needs to in order to feel secure as she grows up. Many shades of brown and gold evoke the hot African grasslands where these giraffes roam. The highly stylized illustrations are spectacular, full of repeating triangle and diamond shapes that are reminiscent of African textiles from various countries. A book to excite children about animal life and reassure them of the lasting love from elders.Kirkus Reviews

— "Journal" (6/18/2019 12:00:00 AM)
Chitra Soundar
Chitra Soundar is an active supporter of reading for pleasure and inclusivity in publishing. Born in India, she now lives in London. She has more than thirty books in print worldwide. Charlene Chua grew up in Singapore but now lives in Ontario, Canada. When she's not making art, she enjoys cooking, reading, and playing video games.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Lantana Publishing
Publication date
October 20, 2019
BISAC categories
JUV039090 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | New Experience
JUV013060 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
JUV030010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | Africa
JUV002370 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Baby Animals
JUV002320 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Giraffes
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Mother and child
Picture books for children
Children's stories
Nature stories

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