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Just Because I Am: A Child's Book of Affirmation    by Lauren Murphy Payne & Claudia Rohling order for
Just Because I Am
by Lauren Murphy Payne
Order:  USA  Can
Free Spirit, 1994 (1994)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Looking for a picture book to help reinforce a small child's self esteem? Try this 'Child's Book of Affirmation'. It opens as Lauren Murphy Payne explains what doesn't make one important and what does: 'I am a person. / I am special ... Not because of what I look like, / Not because of what I have ... / Just because I am.'

Claudia Rohling's unusual illustrations look like richly colored stained glass windows, enclosing children of all colors, shapes and sizes. The text goes on to discuss caring for your body, 'Because it's mine', and trusting it 'To tell me what I need.' Strong feelings are next - how to deal with them is gone into at length, including 'I need to be protected by someone I trust ... / I need to feel safe.' Then Payne talks about when to say yes to interaction with others - 'When it feels right to me.' She tells children to say no 'to hugging and touching that feels wrong to me ... I can decide. It's up to me.'

In an era when we worry about our kids, even in places that in the past were assumed to be the safest around, it's important to make sure they understand they can say no, when it's important to do so, and when they should seek help from trusted adults. Read this empowering picture book on a regular basis with little ones - I did when my sons were small. I hope that Just Because I Am increased their confidence. It certainly reassured me as I listened to them echoing the book's sage pronouncements.

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