If She Can Do It, I Can, Too!

Children - Educational
34 Pages
Reviewed on 04/05/2022
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Author Biography

“If She Can Do It, I Can, Too!” is a children’s book about Black women, created by Black women, but for everyone!

Author De’Shawna Yamini served as a coordinator for a Black men student success initiative at the college level for over five years. While completing coursework in African American Studies alongside her students, she received an assignment to complete a children’s book about any subject in Black history. She wrote: “If She Can Do It, I Can, Too!”

Encouraged to publish the book by friends and family, it is now a reality! The women featured paved the way so the path would be smoother for generations to come!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

If She Can Do It, I Can, Too!, written by De'shawna Yamini and illustrated by Ayzha Middlebrooks, is a children's educational and inspirational picture book that highlights the accomplishments of black women in history that have shaped an entire nation. The book dives straight in and follows a consistent formula for each woman featured. The introduction gives the reader the name of the historical figure, a brief look at her backstory, and what gave her the personal drive to persevere even when it was unusual, or even illegal, for her to do so. We are then taught how she accomplished the feat and given a very encouraging, “I can, too!” The feature closes with an illustration of the person and a slightly more in-depth overview of who she was and what she did.

As a woman, I am always on the lookout for children's books that grab women's history and make it accessible to the youngest of readers. As a mother to children of color, it is even more important to me to find books that depict heroes children can actually see themselves in. Author De'shawna Yamini takes these incredibly important principles and elevates them into a message that applauds strong female drive. Bessie Coleman went to France to get her pilot's license because the United States would not allow a woman who was black and Native American to do so. Katherine Johnson was a black mathematician whose genius in astrophysics got white men to the moon [go figure]. Breathing life into these women and their history is the artistic talent of illustrator Ayzha Middlebrooks, who does so in a bold primary palette as strong as the women themselves. I would give If She Can Do It, I Can, Too! a whole bucket full of stars if I could.

Philip Van Heusen

Children who live in poverty or are part of a minority group often lack suitable role models. De’Shawna Yamini counters this in If She Can Do It, I Can, Too! De’Shawna presents brief introductions to twelve highly successful African American women. This will appeal to young girls of all races and nationalities. The fact that several of these women are involved in STEM makes this book even more valuable. This is an excellent resource to inspire children to let nothing hold them back from becoming whatever they want to be. The women in this book have run the race and won. They overcame hardships and discrimination. They blazed the trail for others to follow. Let your children know that these women are cheering them on to success.

De’Shawna Yamini uses both lyrics and prose to highlight the different examples of success. What do an astronaut, a mathematician, a politician, and an aviator all have in common? In If She Can Do It, I Can, Too!, you will find these African American women all overcame many obstacles on their path to greatness. None of them had superpowers. They were just ordinary women who did not let their circumstances stop them from becoming all they could be. Children need to see that others have faced hardships and were able to overcome them. This book reminds me of one of my favorite hymns I heard in the 1960s: “We Shall Overcome.” This book offers real encouragement! I highly recommend it to all children.

Astrid Iustulin

There are examples of great talent and excellence that children can imitate. Both in the past and in recent times, many Black women have proved their worth by doing extraordinary things. Learn about some of these amazing women in If She Can Do It, I Can, Too! by De’Shawna Yamini. In this beautiful picture book, children will meet exceptional women who have made their mark in medicine, politics, and the arts. Young readers will discover what they have achieved through verses and short, clear descriptions. These wonderful women will encourage children to follow their dreams.

Often it is enough to set an example for children to give them hope that they can get what they want in life. I am sure If She Can Do It, I Can, Too! is a book that will touch the hearts of many young readers and encourage them to give of their best. There is a lot of high-quality material in this book, and the characters De’Shawna Yamini describes make it possible for children to choose positive role models. These women have made a difference in various disciplines, so it will be easy for every child to find their favorite (or favorites) among them, depending on their inclination. I really hope our young readers are inspired to bring out their potential as these great women did. I recommend If She Can Do It, I Can, Too! to all children (especially girls) who want to keep dreaming and being inspired by great examples from the past. If they made it, you will too.