Hello, friends! Our book today is I Can Be Whatever I Want, written by Siana & Deborah Lucero and illustrated by Siana Lucero, an indie ode to the power of imagination.
When Siana (a self-insert by the young author-illustrator) is asked by her nana what she wants to be when she grows up, Siana replies easily: “A unicorn.” When nana points out that Siana is a person – and therefore unlikely to achieve her unicorn dreams – Siana challenges this and changes her grandmother’s mind. Feeling confident that she can truly become whatever she wants to be, Siana lets her imagination run wild, pretending to be a giraffe, a lioness, a butterfly, and more. In each fantasy, she focuses on her feelings and invents a world to inhabit. Concluding that anyone else can be what they want as well, Siana leaves the reader with her advice: believe, imagine, and feel, and you too can achieve your dreams.
Charming. While this self-published indie title has many of the earmarks of such (including slightly clunky text and illustrations), these are more readily excused by the author-illustrator being seven or eight. And in fact, beyond the title’s rough edges is a surprisingly sweet and earnest tale with a strong core message: our imaginations, and potential, are limitless. Siana’s sincere encouragement to her young peers is especially heartwarming, and the adorable details – straight from the mind of a child – of her fantasies make it an entertaining read. And while indie titles can tend to be long-winded, this one keeps things brisk and light, making it a fun and easy story to read aloud. JJ enjoyed this one, and other little bookworms will too; it’s a wonderful way to show that young people can do anything (even write and illustrate their own picture book), if they believe in themselves. Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author – Hi, Siana! – in exchange for an honest review.)