One Girl by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

 

One Girl
by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
Review Copy from Abrams Books

Beaty's rhyming text is both spare and mighty in this book that shows readers the power of knowledge that comes with the magic of reading. Phumiruk's illustrations of a girl's journey that begins with her alone on her front porch in a rural setting, a book, in the form of a shooting star, landing at her feet, and ends with her writing stories that become their own shooting-star-books that inspire more readers, are given depth by the author's note and the flap copy that tells readers, "Today, more than 130 million girls are denied an education. This story begins with one of these girls."

One spark illuminates the world for this girl as she opens her book. Readers see her, open book in hand, traveling through countryside and city, pencils and books becoming tree trunks and fruit to be plucked from trees. Hugging her book to her chest, the girl puts on a uniform and heads down the road to a school, where she continues to glow, growing strong. A parade of pages show the girl writing, worlds unfurling from her pencil, her classmates first in awe, then reading on their own. As the book comes to a close, more sparks, more shooting-star-books, find their way to more girls all over the world.

Expanding on the statistic shared on the flap copy, Beaty's authors note tells readers that "poverty, political situations, remote living, violence, and child marriage keep girls out of classrooms and stop them from reaching their full potential." This does not hurt only girls, as educated girls, "grow into women who are healthier, earn higher incomes, and help people in their lives out of poverty." Beaty ends by inviting readers to learn more and help by visiting the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative and donate to the Girls Opportunity Alliance.

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