Thursday, September 20, 2018

I Am Human

I Am Human. Susan Verde. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. 2018. Abrams. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I am Human. I am always learning. I'm finding my way and choosing my path on this incredible journey. I have BIG dreams. I see possibility. I have endless curiosity. I make discoveries. I have a feeling of wonder. I am amazed by nature. I have a playful side. I find joy in friendships. I am Human.

Premise/plot: What you see is what you get.

What does it mean to be human? That is the question tackled in Susan Verde's newest picture book. It is very much a message-driven book. When a book's message is especially well-received, readers--critics--praise it. Otherwise message-driven books are called didactic.

The book is a good reminder that all books--even picture books--have a world view.

My thoughts: If I could unread the author's note, I might have a more open mind. But I can't. The author's note is a "guided meditation." Will children read the author's note? Will parents? Will teachers? How important is the author's note to the text as a whole? I can't answer all those questions. Obviously.

I was bothered by the capital H. This may or may not be Significant to the Message. I'm assuming it is. On the one hand, I suppose "Human" could be the proper name of narrator. There is no hidden-meaning or significance. On the other hand, it could be making a statement--spiritual, psychological, or philosophical.

I admit this could be an overreaction but. It felt like humanity was being elevated to deity, to God. I am Human. I am the Center of the Universe. I answer to no higher power. I define my own meaning; I make my own place in the universe. I am who I say I am. The book screams humanism. I read an article on humanistic psychology and it captured the message of the book perfectly.

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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