Oh, The Things I Can Be When I See Me

Children - Educational
34 Pages
Reviewed on 09/18/2019
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Author Biography

To Valerie J. Lewis Coleman, every conversation with a child is an opportunity to teach. Whether basic life skills, kindness or career aspirations, she encourages her grandbabies and other children to be the best they can be. ThingsICanBe.com

As a best-selling author and award-winning publisher, Valerie serves professional speakers and experts to magnify and monetize their message by publishing quality books. With over fifteen years of experience in the book business, she has published over 130 authors and helped thousands of writers navigate the challenges of self-publishing. This expert divulges industry secrets on avoiding the top five mistakes made by 95% of new authors, pricing your book to sell and identifying shady publishers. Her dynamic presentation and knowledge of the business takes writers from pen to paper to published as they master self-publishing to make money! PenOfTheWriter.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by Barbara Fanson for Readers' Favorite

If you enjoyed the Dr. Seuss book titled Oh, the Places You’ll Go, you’ll love Oh, The Things I Can Be When I See Me. This new book by author Valerie J. Lewis Coleman introduces children to many different occupations written in story form. While MeMe is looking after two grandchildren, Lyric and Samara, she tells them of people who have succeeded in their professions. Although the story features famous black Americans, such as Michelle Obama, Alicia Keys, Serena Williams, and Mariah Carey, everyone can benefit from the encouraging underlying messages. You can be whatever you want to be. This book also encourages creative play—indoors and outdoors.

The realistic-looking artwork by illustrator Natasza Remesz will help to draw young children into the book and the story will keep them interested. Author Valerie J. Lewis Coleman has written a book to inspire children to be whatever they want to be. MeMe, the grandmother, provides several role models while she babysits her two grandchildren. After reading the book, why not read it again and act out the roles? Draw a picture while they’re talking about artists, sing when they discuss famous musicians, play a sport when they discuss well-known athletes, play doctor with a doll or plush toy, or pretend to be a teacher. This book encourages creative play and letting children dream about what they would like to be when they grow up. There are two activities at the back of the book to please teachers and parents. I think all public and school libraries should have Oh, The Things I Can Be When I See Me.

Jack Magnus

Oh, The Things I Can Be When I See Me is a children’s educational picture book written by Valerie J. Lewis Coleman and illustrated by Natasza Remesz. Samara and Lyric love staying overnight with their grandmother, MeMe. MeMe always encourages the two cousins to think about what they want to be or do when they grow up. There are so many different options and opportunities available to them, and MeMe has inspirational stories to share about women who had those same dreams and aspirations and saw them bear fruit. Samara and Lyric can choose a life as an artist, dancer, doctor, engineer or lawyer -- to name just a few. The sky is the limit for them, and knowing that there are women of color doing what they dream about right now makes that future seem so much closer. Coleman includes a list of discussion questions for kids to think about their own hopes and aspirations for the future. She also gives young readers a word search puzzle containing career titles to hunt for and provides a list of the women discussed in the book with links to relevant sites. She wants young girls of color to ask themselves: What’s your goal? And how are you going to reach it?

Along the way, Samara and Lyric -- and young readers -- learn about the many opportunities open to young girls and are exposed to the stories of powerful women who have achieved so much. This book offers a wealth of information for educators and parents to share with their children. I especially appreciated the links at the back of the book which enable readers to learn more about the women discussed in the story. While I was familiar with a number of the women highlighted, I appreciated having access to additional information about them and discovering new heroes to read about as well. The word search game is particularly useful for familiarizing kids with career options and interests. Oh, The Things I Can Be When I See Me is highly recommended.

Vincent Dublado

Cousins Samara and Lyric visit their grandmother, Meme, for a weekend of fun and educational bonding. This little story is inspired by black females who excel in their respective fields. The two young girls talk about the endless possibilities of what they could become and what they could achieve. Grandma Meme listens to them with genuine interest and affection. For every activity that the girls do, Grandma Meme inspires them by dropping in an example of a woman of color who made a difference in that particular art or discipline. Meme, as the family’s senior matriarch, serves as the mirror that explores African-American representation.

Valerie J. Lewis Coleman pens an imaginative story about dreams and growing up in Oh, The Things I Can Be When I See Me. Readers will find themselves playing along with Samara and Lyric. A sense of belonging pervades among the characters. The thematic thread that holds this children’s book together is that you can be whatever you want to be and no one can stop you from achieving your dreams. These may sound like typical words of inspiration, but there is no doubt that Coleman succeeds in encouraging her young audience to dream and do. Oh, The Things I Can Be When I See Me is a delightful homage to growing up, imagination, and a tribute to heritage.