My Own Way by Joana Estrela and adapted by Jay Hulme.
My Own Way is a very special book published by the Quarto Kids publisher under the imprint of Wide Eyed. At times a book just makes you stop as you start to read it and go WOW!
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WOW, why has My Own Way only just been released, as it’s a book that should be in every home, children’s setting and library in the world.
My little one didn’t really start to have much understanding of gender until she began school. Before then she had no real concept of societies labels and stereotyping that are so naturally pushed onto children; this is a girls toy, these are boy clothes, this colour isn’t for girls etc.
It wasn’t always easy with well meaning friends and family making flippant remarks. You realise there is so much conscious and unconscious bias out there. Once she started school there was lots of talk about ‘boys do this’, ‘girls do that’ and although we have always proactively explored and challenged this talk I was looking for something else to support the conversations were were having in a format that my daughter enjoys – books.
The Perfect Book
I requested My Own Way to review on #NetGalley mainly due to the front cover and didn’t really know what the content would be. It’s by Joana Estrela and adapted by Jay Hulme as it was originally written in Portuguese. When I read the first page “GIRL… OR BOY?” I thought, is this maybe the book I’ve been looking for. Then from the next spread “PINK OR BLUE” I knew it was the book I had been looking for.
It’s interesting to think, but also scary, that there are set thoughts on gender in very small children. This book helps to dispel the stereotypical gender myths in a fun, rhythmic way. The illustrations are vibrant with a beautiful simplicity.
The most powerful message from the book is that it’s not up to someone else to decide who you are, it’s up to you. There’s also a real lovely vibe of kindness and acceptance throughout. It’s a truly beautiful book.
My Own Way Highly Recommended
There is something incredibly clever about being able to write a unique book that explores such a complex theme but can be shared and understood by very little children.
My Own Way gets a highly recommend from me.
My Own Way Educator Notes
There are some very helpful resources that have been produced by Quarto Kids to go alongside this book. The educator notes are well written with a two lesson structure for settings. However, it could easily be dipped in and out of if you didn’t want to follow the structure or you wanted to have shorter sessions. You can find the notes here and an activity sheet here.
Thank you so much to Quarto for sending a physical copy our way.