A colorful and optimistic picture book, I Celebrate My Voice presents the concept of a person’s voice as much more than what they say, instead framing it as an expression of what they love and who they are.
“What is my voice?” asks the narrator of the book. To answer the question, the book offers examples of what a “voice” can include, such as “the signs I use to express myself” (paired with an illustration of a woman and two children speaking in sign language) and “the courage to be bold” (paired with an image of two boys playing near the woods, their imagined dinosaurs stomping happily nearby).
Soon, the narrative shifts the definition of voice to something more conceptual: “Like a black marlin, I swim lightning fast! The thrill of swimming is my voice!” it proclaims against a backdrop of a girl in a pool, racing a leaping fish. It proceeds to an even more encompassing view, noting “I love and celebrate who I AM,” weaving together concepts of self and voice, first as things that can change and grow, and then spotlighting professions as extensions of a person’s voice. For instance, “Some voices help and heal” is written alongside illustrations of firefighters, doctors, and children assisting each other.
Each page is complemented by vibrant, full-page illustrations featuring characters with different skin tones, ages, and abilities. This, combined with some unexpected visuals (such as the abovementioned fish and girl) give the book a joyful, uplifting feel.
A minor problem is with the book’s rather fuzzy definition of voice. Is your voice only things you excel at or enjoy? Is it believing in yourself? Is it a catchall term for how you act, what you do, and who you are? A more focused look at the concept would make the idea of voice easier for children to grasp.
Nonetheless, this is an energetic, affirming book. Young readers will enjoy its celebratory spirit.
Also available in hardcover.