Saturday, February 12, 2022

Winter Reading 2022 Sunflower Sisters

"The skin we are in is EXACTLY as it is meant to be." That message comes through in the story of friends Amrita and Kiki as they both prepare for family weddings. When Aunty arrives for the wedding and begins handing out skin-lightening creams and advice about staying out of the sun and avoiding certain foods, Amrita is puzzled and turns to her mother for guidance. Mom explains that some people see lighter skin tones as more beautiful and try all sorts of methods to change the color of their skin. 

Luckily for Amrita, her parents make sure she feels loved, valued, and confident. After attending her sister's wedding in a beautiful golden outfit that makes her feel like a lovely flower, Amrita peeks in to see her friend Kiki's family celebrating with Kiki's brother Yemi and his new bride. The two friends swear to always "make each other feel like sunflowers every day." A final montage shows the friends as they grow up and open a boutique together.

I was fortunate enough to see the author and illustrator talk about their book. Monika has a doctorate in psychology and also designs clothing. Michaela has a background in textile design and is also a children's book illustrator; she surprised the author by including some of Monika's designs in the  last spread of the book, which depicts a fashion show. 

Back matter explains what colorism is, how it can be harmful, and what we can do to change it.

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