Becoming my Best Self: My Shero Attributes

Shamena Maharaj

Publisher: Tellwell Pages: 28 Price: (paperback) $20.99 ISBN: 9780228811916 Reviewed: October, 2019 Author Website: Visit »

Becoming My Best Self: My Shero Attributes is a colorfully illustrated picture book that seeks to teach young readers the attributes that will make them good, caring people.

Written as a guide with short illustrative examples, this book presents 12 words people can embody to be better community members and become heroes or “sheroes” in their own circles. Each word is assigned to a month: for example, February’s word is “kindness,” which includes an example of a girl who starts a clothing drive to help her community, while September focuses on “failure,” which describes a girl who fails a karate test but practices harder to improve.

The illustrations are warm, vibrant, and inclusive, featuring characters of different races, genders, and abilities. Both they and the stories feature women and girls, although a few stories include boys as primary and secondary characters.

“Shero” is defined rather broadly, as: “all of the people in our lives that we admire.” This diffuses the book’s focus to include all sorts of qualities a reader should embody—everything from “joy” and “happiness” to “failure” and “setting goals.” A more traditional definition of heroism (showing courage and bravery) would have given the book a tighter, more coherent focus.

Also, while the included concepts are all positive, one of the supporting examples seems a bit of a stretch: To illustrate “mindfulness,” which the author defines as “being present with our thoughts, experiences and emotions on a moment to moment basis,” the author includes the story of Rama, who sends a party invitation to his blind friend in Braille. The example seems more related to “compassion” or “thoughtfulness” than mindfulness, as it’s commonly understood.

The book also contains some copyediting errors, such as “They both showed cared [sic] for their pet…” or the lower-case treatment of “braille” (a word that should be capitalized).

Despite these issues, readers will appreciate these memorable examples of young people doing good deeds and learning from their mistakes.

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