Lulu the One and Only
Lynnette Mawhinney, Author
Jennie Poh, Illustrator
Magination Press, Fiction, Jun. 9, 2020
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes: Racially-mixed people, Prejudices, Individuality, Self-esteem, Family Relationships
Opening: “My name is Luliwa Lovington, but everyone calls me Lulu. It means “pearl” in Arabic.
Lulu and Zane’s mother is from Kenya. Their father is white and he coaches Zane’s hockey team. When she’s with her dad, kids think they are adopted. But being a mixture of both her parents stirs up the inevitable question…”What are you? ” Lulu hates that question.
Her older brother Zane, says the question is annoying. But he’s proud of his family and being brown. So he creates a power phrase that he uses: “I am magic made from my parents.” He says “It helps people understand who you are, not what you are.” Will Lulu find her power phrase?
Why I like this book:
Lynnette Mawhinney has written a sensitive and heartfelt story that empowers children who are mixed race, biracial, or multiracial. Lulu is always being asked the BIG question: What are you? In the story she learns how to deal with her feelings about being mixed race and how to stand proud when she is asked that inevitable question. There is so much beauty in this story.
Mixed race children often deal with teasing, like her brother Zane. When Lulu is asked THAT question, it comes across as curiosity from some kids, teasing from others. Lulu is a spunky character who is fortunate to have an older, confident brother in Zane, who can help her.
I like that the story is based on the real-life experiences of the author. It is a book that multiracial children and their families will identify with, but it is also a story that should be shared with all children. It is a perfect discussion book for classrooms.
Jennie Poh’s adorable illustrations are cheery and uplifting. They also showcase the bond Lulu and Zane have with their parents.
Resources: The author is biracial and shares many ways parents can start conversations with their children about race. Make sure you check out her Author’s Note at the end.
Lynnette Mawhinney, Ph.D, is the author of many books on education and teaching, but this is her first children’s book. She is a teacher educator that helps to prepare future teachers for the classroom. Lynnette uses her power phrase whenever she needs it as she is proud to be biracial. She lives in Chicago with her husband. Visit her at her website. Visit her on twitter: @lkmawhinney.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.