Yim, H. (2017). The Girl Who Said Sorry. Rhyming Reason Books.
All Ages (target ages 5-7) / Feminism / Empowerment
BLURB: Too girly or too boyish. Too thin or too fat. Too quiet, too loud. Be ambitious, but don't hurt feelings. Be inquisitive, but don't interrupt. Be outspoken, but don't be bossy. Most of all, be yourself--but be a lady.
What's a girl to do in a world filled with contradicting gender expectations, aside from saying sorry?
The way we teach politeness norms to children is often confusing, changing based on gender--and can have lasting effects. And while everyone should be courteous and accountable for their actions, apologetic language out of context can undermine confidence and perceived capability.
Within the subtle yet beautiful illustrations and powerful rhyme of The Girl Who Said Sorry, developing girls will learn that self-expression and personal choices can be made without apology, and with confidence.
50% of profits from this book is donated to Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation campaign dedicated to empowering young girls to take action on global issues.
Connect with the Book:
HALL WAYS REVIEW: When I received a review request from Hayoung Terra Yim, what first caught my attention was her self-description (see "About the Author" below). It is her mission "to highlight the realities of the gender apology gap to young girls" that made me give a quick reply (YES!) to reviewing The Girl Who Said Sorry. What a good move!
Using a parallel sentence structure and some rhyming, The Girl Who Said Sorry delivers a much-needed message to girls to stop apologizing and to resist mixed messages and double-standards put upon them. (You're too thin, but should you have that cookie?) As the main character goes through different experiences where she's constantly apologizing for not meeting someone else's standards, she has an epiphany (accompanied by a fabulous burst of swirling colors) and realizes that automatically saying sorry must stop.
Enhancing this story are the simple but eye-catching, expressive illustrations (by Marta Maszkiewicz), which are formatted so that side-by-side pages have a complete scene to support the text. Even the inside cover pages and dedication pages have subtle and not-so-subtle illustrations to make a point. For example, if readers look closely at the pattern on the inside cover pages, they'll notice it's made of pointing fingers! The colors pop here and there without overwhelming readers, which helps make the illustrations the perfect complement to the text.
The final two spreads of the book NAIL the messages we want young girls (and us not-so-young girls as well) to hear: never apologize for being authentic and true to yourself. Plus, the message is conveyed not in the trendy screw-everyone-it's-all-about-me way, but in a thoughtful way that reminds readers that you can be yourself without hurting others.
If all the above reasons are not enough to buy multiple copies of The Girl Who Said Sorry for the females in your life, this should be: 50% of the sales profits will be donated to Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation campaign dedicated to empowering young girls to act on global issues. Sold!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hayoung Yim is a third-wave feminist, environmentalist, advocate for evidence-based public policies, and diverse writer. A UofT graduate in political science and English, she strives to highlight issues to developing children in an approachable manner. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she dreams about implementing social change through popular culture.
In her spare time, she likes to travel through time and space.