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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
I Celebrate My Voice: It is Limitless, written by Nonkululeko Kunene Adumetey and illustrated by Mary K. Biswas, is a children's picture book that revolves around a series of affirmations for young readers. Adumetey begins the story with an introduction to the question of what a voice is, the answer to which was a very pleasant surprise to all of us. The first definition of voice is in the obvious use of the vocal cords and/or sign language. Then the story digs deeper showing how voice is so much more than either of these. It is our strengths that are our voices. Dancing, swimming, skating and all sorts of activities that we revel in constitute our own personal voice.
I can count the number of times a children's book went in a direction I could never have guessed. I Celebrate My Voice is a rare gem in the world of kid-lit for a variety of reasons. The message of inclusivity and the affirmation of strength, and how to apply it, are the obvious firsts. However, Nonkululeko Kunene Adumetey also validates a child like my own, who is so painfully shy that her voice makes only a few appearances with strangers. But she has a smile that can light up an entire room, and this smile is her voice. I didn't even come up with that...my child did after we finished the book. Mary K. Biswas breathes life into Adumetey's vision with artwork that is so realistic I initially thought photos were superimposed on illustrated bodies. A full spectrum of primary colors brightens up a diverse group of children in a book that is certain to delight both younger and older readers alike.