Jamie is Jamie-A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way
Author: Afsaneh Moradian
Illustrator: Maria Bogade
Free Spirit Publishing
Ages: 4 – 8 years old
If you’ve ever shopped in a department store in the United States, you’ve witnessed the Pink Aisle. No, there is no special designation for the aisle; you will not find it labeled the “Pink Aisle.” But, we all know where it is. It’s in the toy section: and, it’s where you will find most of the toys for “girls.” Enter: Jamie is Jamie-A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way–a book that will hopefully contribute in some way to ending the gendering of toys for children.
Jamie, our preschooler, just started a new school, with new friends. At school, Jamie likes to play with cars, dolls, action figures, do somersaults, finish puzzels, dance ballet, and engage in all sorts of activities that have nothing whatsoever to do with gender. This, is immediately noticed by Jamie’s peers who wonder whether Jamie is a boy or a girl. As most things with children, the thought is fleeting and the children decide that they can’t wait to play with Jamie again. In the end, Jamie is Jamie and the peers learn from Jamie’s example that they can play with whatever toy they please.
Moradian’s message is simple, children like to play; and they like to play with different toys. The book, in simple, everyday prose, helps children understand that it’s “okay” to want to race cars one day and nurture a doll the next. For adults, it brings for the radical notion (to some) that children’s play is only constrained by the limitations adults place on it. Jamie, is simply Jamie. Jamie’s gender (indeed, if it even is defined) is irrelevant.
Noteworthy is Moradian’s use of dialogue. It is unusual to see a picture book where so many children speak. Moradian was wise to use that particular structure in Jamie as it allowed the characters to chime in, adding depth to the central discussion– and, reinforcing, albeit briefly, secondary character development.
Bogade does a good job at illustrating a somewhat diverse classroom. Although the characters do somewhat look the same. The illustrations are friendly, colorful and inviting. They do a solid job of hosting us in Jamie’s world.
Some will (and I’m sure have) argue that books like Jamie is Jamie contribute to “what is wrong with this world.” That is ridiculous. More kids, and especially adults, need to read this book. At the time of this writing it’s been almost 50 years since Free to be You and Me, and we still haven’t learned the lesson.
If you want to purchase a copy of Jamie is Jamie-A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way, and support my endeavors at the same time, you can click on one of the links below. No extra cost to you, and it will help me out! More books to read, more reviews to do!
Jamie is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way (Hardcover at Amazon)*
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.
My thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing an Advance Copy of this book. The views expressed herein are my own.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.