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Just Like Me — Perfect Picture Book Friday

Cover Art for Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Author/Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 2020

Themes: Poetry, Girl-power

Ages 4 and up

Opening lines:

I Am a Canvas

I am a canvas

being painted on

by the words of my family


and community . . .

The poems encourage girls to be her true self, to follow her heart, and do big things.

The copyright pages says the illustrations "were created using acrylic paint, gouache, charcoal pencil, oil pastels, handmade and collage papers, and lots of magic."

The illustrations truly are magical. Vanessa's art is bright and cheerful. She created characters of every color and shape. It is a rainbow wonderful set to poems about being a girl with dreams, challenges, leadership, and silliness.

Detail of art on from the Explorer poem

Look at this close up from the image on the Explorer poem page. I just love how she uses text to create an emblem. And these colors! Just as bright as Vanessa.

This book would make a lovely gift for girls of any age.

I have had the privilege of taking a class on character design with Vanessa through Storyteller Academy. She is so encouraging and positive making you feel like you can do anything. This book is filled with poems that do the same thing.

A detail from the Gumbo Me poem Wedding portrait
Here's another little detail. See if you can find it when you read the book.

Resources and Activities:

Learn more about Vanessa.

Write a poem about being you.

-- Write your first name in a row down the left side of a piece of paper. Make a phrase or sentence about yourself starting with each letter of your name.

Here's mine:


Silly smiling, simplicity

Action, moving, drawing, writing, spending time outside.

Red-haired, blue-eyed unique me

All wrapped up in freckled skin. Add the

H. It makes my name complete.

Or maybe answer these questions to get some poem ideas.

What are your favorite things to do?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Describe what you look like.

What's your favorite animal?

What's your favorite food?

Who's your favorite person? How are you like that person? How are you different?

What's your least favorite food?

What's you best memory?

Quiet or loud?

Lots of friends or just a few?

Inside or outside?

Add more questions and keep the flow going. Pick and choose from your list and write a poem that tells the world who you are.

Make a collage person. Here's a little video on Facebook of Vanessa creating one. You can't do it wrong. Have fun and make your best faces.

You can purchase the book through my affiliate links. Bookshop supports independent bookstores and well, Amazon is well known. I'm pretty new to being an affiliate, but I may make a little money if you purchase through my links.

Check out Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday Blog post each week to learn about more cool books to read with your kids and add to your collection.

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1 Comment

I've enjoyed several webinars that Vanessa has given, but I've never taken a class from her. She's such a positive force! And this book looks wonderful! Thanks for the rec!

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