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 BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND FOREVER! by Gary Robinson Kirkus Star


by Gary Robinson ; illustrated by Gary Robinson

Pub Date: March 28th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-939053-34-3
Publisher: 7th Generation

Inspired by a real-life child acquaintance of the author, this book aims to encourage girls of all ages to believe in themselves and know they are just enough the way they are.

Protagonist Jayla begins by inviting readers to a heart-to-heart conversation: “Okay, girls…I’ve got something to say!” She’s proud of her mixed African American, Native American, Asian American, and Latinx identity. She offers readers definitive steps to build confidence and self-trust, telling them not to listen to the negative messages they hear in their heads. “That’s called negative self-talk. It’s not good for you, and you don’t have to listen to it!” She goes further: “If your friends tell you those negative things, GET NEW FRIENDS!” Jayla suggests ways to practice positive self-talk, including a simple list of affirmations, and exhorts readers to embrace their unique characteristics. “They make you, YOU!” Robinson’s posterlike illustrations place images of the bespectacled, brown-skinned Jayla at the centers of compositions, disorienting, dark backgrounds containing the negative messages she spurns, including a bank of TV screens blaring such mottos as “Fair-skinned Girls are Pretty” and “Skinny is Best.” Other backgrounds resemble flower-power designs from the early 1970s; another literally depicts right-brain/left-brain strengths, with arithmetic equations on one side and exuberant paint splatters on the other. Jayla ends with a final piece of advice: “believe in yourself and be your own Best Friend forever!”

Girl readers will come away embracing their best possible selves.

(Picture book. 4-7)