Although a classmate says that she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to do.
Amazing Grace addresses some important topics. Grace’s classmates tell her that she can’t be Peter Pan in the school play because she is a girl and because she is black. Thankfully, Grace has a strong grandma and mother who encourage her to do anything she wants. Grace’s classmates don’t seem intentionally rude or unkind—just matter-of-fact—but their believable examples illustrate in a way that children can understand and empathize with the importance of acceptance and open-mindedness. The book can prompt important and meaningful discussions with children about the dangers of making assumptions, stereotyping or other insensitivities that can chip away at our societal fabric if we allow them to continue unchecked. This story can help children imagine what it’s like to have others tell them they can’t do something or be something because of the color of their skin, their gender, or a range of other imaginable distinctions and differences and think about how they can be inviting and encouraging.
A beautiful book about being yourself and having the confidence to know you can accomplish anything you set your mind to if you’re willing to work at it. Grace’s mother and grandmother are wonderful examples and provide Grace with the encouragement and perspective she needs as she deals with adversity and show the power of wisdom shared through generations. The illustrations are beautiful as well, and the light touching on diversity is powerful without overwhelming the other equally powerful messages in the story.
Mary Hoffman is the internationally acclaimed author of over 100 books for children, ranging from picture books to teenage fiction. Her first picture book for Frances Lincoln, Amazing Grace, has become a classic which, with its sequels in the series, has sold 1.5 million copies worldwide. Mary’s other picture books for Frances Lincoln include The Colour of Home with Karin Littlewood and An Angel Just Like Me with Cornelius van Wright, as well as the hugely successful The Great Big Book of Families, The Great Big Book of Feelings, and Welcome to the Family, all with Ros Asquith. Their next title together will be The Great Big Body Book. Mary Hoffman lives in Oxfordshire. For more information about her books visit her website: www.maryhoffman.co.uk