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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
It’s hard growing up. Children (and even adults) always find something wrong with a child and many love to tease and torment. You might be a geek or a brainy kid or even a bookworm. You might like to play rough outside with both boys and girls. But there will always be someone who finds something wrong with what you do and how you do it. Li Na loves climbing trees and rollerblading fast down the lanes around her house. She’s labeled a tomboy and she’s told, “a tomboy is no beauty.” The comments hurt, but Li Na knows how to stand up for who she is and you should, too.
Lisa Wee’s picture book, Li Na Is My Name, is a sweet story about a little girl who likes to do different things. Nothing wrong with that. She confronts narrow-minded people, both adults and children, who think she doesn’t fit in because she’s a little different. Told in simple language and with colorful illustrations, the plot follows Li Na as she describes her activities and what people say about her. The climax is beautiful as the girl stands up for who and what she is: “I am no tomboy. I am not like a boy. I have a name. …My name is Li Na.” And she boldly proclaims her self-identity on stage in front of an audience of adults and children. A powerful message about standing up for yourself, showing self-confidence, and being proud of who you are and what you enjoy doing.