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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Myself: WIGU is a children's picture book written by A. Cole and illustrated by Lea Embeli. Naya loves being who she is, and she especially likes the fact that she is just a little bit different than everyone else. Being different makes her feel powerful as she gets to decide what she wants to do or be without worrying about what other people will think or say. Each day, she figures out what she feels like wearing. It can be colorful or plain -- the choice is up to her. Being different does get a bit daunting sometimes, when she goes off to school and everyone else seems to be exactly alike. Career Day made Naya feel even more alienated from her peers than usual. Everyone seemed to know exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. One kid wanted to be a doctor, another a lawyer, still another an engineer. Naya thought about all the different career options her classmates were discussing, but nothing seemed to appeal to her. That night, as she was sleeping, it came to her in a dream that who she was when she grew up was really much more important than what career she wanted -- and Naya knew she just wanted to be herself.
A. Cole's children's picture book, When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Myself: WIGU, celebrates the special qualities that make each child unique and different. Naya is a marvelous role model for any child who seems to be marching to the beat of a different drummer. Cole's story is accompanied by Lea Embeli's marvelous illustrations that bring Cole's resourceful and imaginative little girl to life. Each panel is brightly colored and works so well with the story. I especially enjoyed the panels which recreate the green hills and poppy fields Naya finds herself in during her dreams. When I Grow Up is a grand selection for story time at school, and Naya’s tale will be especially comforting for kids who are feeling just a bit different and wondering if they really have to be just like everyone else. The story and vocabulary are also suitable for new readers, grades k-3, to try on their own. When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Myself: WIGU is most highly recommended.