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What are we made of? Not sugar and spice.

March 31, 2014

It’s a shame when wonderful books go out of print.  Such is the case with I LOOK LIKE A GIRL by Sheila Hamanaka.

Hamanaka cover

Bank Street 3rd-graders (girls AND boys) have latched onto this poetic picture book.  They love the way the girl uses her imagination to see herself as a dolphin, wolf, mustang, and tiger–she may look like a girl, but she feels like something wild, fierce, and free.  Here’s what they had to say about it.

They know that girls are not simply sweet:

“She looks like a girl, but feels like a fierce animal.”

“Girls aren’t always dainty.  They can be tough cookies who don’t mind getting dirty.”

“She wouldn’t want to be staying at home playing dress-up.  She’d be a tiger, not a fairy.”

They identify with the girl in the book:

“I feel the way that she does.  I like to be free.”

“I don’t want to be a princess when I grow up.  You can’t have any fun.”

“I don’t think that girls are dainty.  I can make my brother cry.  We can be nice, but I can be very mean.”

“I want to be fierce, not a princess.”

“Sometimes people can’t tell if I’m a boy or a girl.  It’s awkward.  They expect something but get something different.”

They affirm everyone’s right to be true to who they are:

“We’re all equal, like the book says.  You should look inside me.”

“No girl wants to be stereotyped.  And some boys like pink.  It doesn’t matter!”

“Every girl has the right to act the way she wants.”

“Boys can be nice and sweet.”

“You shouldn’t make people feel they have to change who they are.”

When one confused kid studied the cover and asked

“Wait–IS the character a girl?”

Another kid responded:

“It doesn’t matter.  Just BE WHO YOU ARE.”


Edit 4/3/14: Check out Part II, in which kids take action!

-Allie Jane Bruce

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2014 10:49 am

    Reblogged this on Eagles Diwaniya and commented:
    What incredible responses! Faith in humanity: restored.
    Indeed it is a shame that this book is out of print.


  1. What are we made of? Find out here. | Bank Street College Center for Children's Literature
  2. Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3) — @fuseeight A Fuse #8 Production

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