Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor, pictures by Nabi H. Ali
Body image, self-love, self acceptance, family.
Find it as a book.
Sometimes as a librarian you come across a book that you immediately want to share with everyone. Friends, family, random strangers on the street. You know that their lives would be better if only they could read this book. Beautifully Me is one of those books for me.
While it starts as a heart-warming portrait of a little girl excited for her first day of school, Beautifully Me quickly becomes a critical look at the way we talk about bodies – both our own and others’. More importantly, it looks at the impact that talk has not only ourselves, but on the people around us.
Zubi is an energetic and caring Bangladeshi-American girl with huge self esteem and a large and loving family. But after hearing family members and children at school criticizing their own and others’ weight, she starts to wonder if there’s something wrong with her weight as well.
There are equally important messages in this book for both children and adults. The story culminates in a conversation with Zubi’s father, who tells her “…sometimes we can be mean to ourselves without even realizing it. And when we hurt ourselves, we hurt the people who love us. That’s what we did to you today, and we’re sorry.”
Between Noor’s beautiful words and Ali’s vibrant pictures, this book is a must-read for anyone who has a child, or knows a child, or works with children. Or for anyone who wishes that people had been a bit more thoughtful when speaking with them about weight as a child.