Hello, friends! Our book today is I Am Famous, written by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, a tale of a precocious young starlet and her life of glitz and glamour.
Kiely has been famous all her life. She’s a singer, and actress AND a dancer, plus a style icon and social media star. The paparazzi – also known as her parents – follow her everywhere, always there to capture her latest forays into fabulousity. But when a performance at her grandparents’ party has a few hiccups, will Kiely ever be able to recover her iconic reputation? Or do her fans/family simply love her for being who she is?
There were things about this that I really liked: I enjoyed most of Kiely’s narrative, mostly her unapologetically flaunting what makes her feel special – especially since she is a young black girl with confidence and self-esteem. The art is great as well, using bright colors and dramatic gestures and expressions to play up Kiely’s diva side. However, there were a few cringeworthy moments: her father cowering before her with an offering as she frowns in disapproval, a drawing of her shoving her mother in the face during a tantrum, depictions of her parents filming her with cell phones both in the bathtub and on a training potty, the letter being shared on social media. All three are played for comedy, but the implications are odd. We’re in an age in which children do become “stars” of social media, even to the public at large, but this raises the question of what impact this has on them, and what is and isn’t suitable to share. And while I’m obviously not against sharing my child on social media, there were a few moments in the story that gave me pause on whether Kiely or her parents were behaving appropriately. It’s a judgement call, so I’m calling this one Baby Bookworm approved – with an asterisk.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)