“A pleasant read highlighting positivity and unity through social media.”
Emily’s idea—a simple, beautiful, and diverse chain of paper dolls—begins to spread as she shows her project to her class at school. Her classmates are inspired to create more doll chains and decorate their classroom with the dolls hanging hand in hand, strung colorfully around the walls. The illustrations show the critical moment in the story when Emily’s teacher posts a picture of their newly decorated classroom onto a social media network resembling Facebook. Likes, comments, and shares spread the idea, and paper-doll chains pop up across the world, eventually circling back as Emily receives a package with a paper-doll chain that says “thank you.” The stylized choice of some clipped sentences—”Friends and stranger joined hands. Across bridges and town squares.”—feels stunted and awkwardly opposite of the long, extended chains of dolls taking center stage in the story, but lovely illustrations delicately demonstrate the snowball reaction of the unifying paper-doll chains. Miguéns highlights diversity in both characters and dolls while inserting fun details—like the popular book titles on Emily’s bookshelf including Matilda and The Gruffalo. Emily’s age isn’t shared, but she appears to be a more mature child with her comprehension levels, emotions, and appearance. With instructions at the back on how to make paper dolls, this book is light on story and heavy on the positive example of social media and the wonderful message of unity.
How a simple creative act spreads a message of love and acceptance around the world?
Emily’s idea started small. Many beautiful ideas do. She folded, doodled, and snipped. But also, like many ideas, Emily’s small idea grew.
When a little girl decides to create a paper chain of dolls, her idea catches on. Then it spreads far and wide as children around the world begin to create and share their own. This is the story of how that girl makes it happen.
Emily’s teacher shared about her classes’ paper doll chains on social media, which spread Emily’s idea across the world. What are other ways social media can be used in a positive way?
Emily’s paper doll chains were full of people that were the same, but different. How are people across the world similar to you, and how are they different?
Sweet message about cherishing our differences as well as our similarities and the impact one child or one little idea can make. That being said, it felt a little bit forced and left me wondering if this was a simplification of a true story . . . but it wasn’t. The “virality” of the idea (complete with FB thumbs ups and heart emojis) dates this book to the here and now and all in all it’s cute but perhaps not as inspiring as it hopes to be.
Christine Evans is a British expat who lives in Northern California with her husband and two young daughters. Her work has appeared in Highlights, High Five, and Hello magazines. She is also the author of Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist. Visit pinwheelsandstories.com.
Marta Álvarez is an author and children´s book illustrator living in A Coruña, Spain.
She graduated in Psychology from the University of Santiago de Compostela in 2001, however her real passion was always drawing doodles in the margins of the notebooks.
Marta debuts in 2002 writing and illustrating her first picture book “¡Cómo está o galiñeiro!” published by Xerais. Since then, she has worked for several Spanish and international publishing houses.
In 2007 her artwork was selected and exhibited at the Bratislava Biennial of Illustration (BIB). She illustrated “Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean´s Most Fearless Scientist”, which was named one of the Best Children´s Books of 2017 by Parents Magazine, and won the Blue Spruce Award in 2018. She also painted the funny and charming illustrations of “What is Poo?”, which won the Silver Award at the Junior Design Awards 2017.
Marta Álvarez is a member of the Galician Illustrators Association (AGPI).