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Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis

We’ve been reading it every night for three months. When I first read it, I thought it was too dry. Nothing happens! A little girl plays alone outside, helps some ants and jumps into a puddle. This CANNOT be entertaining for my three year old daughter? Right?

Well. Sometimes you’re surprised with what your kids can teach you. At first, my daughter said nothing as I read it to her and then read it again, but each night she studied the pages and pictures. Then, like children do when they begin to memorize a book, she started to repeat the lines. And then, something surprising happened. She started mimicking the facial expressions and body language of Lulu. “Look, mommy, she does like this!” My girl said, as she copied Lulu’s defiant, cross armed pose.

And then, my daughter repeated her favorite line, “I’m not little. You’re little,” as she copied the action of creating a tiny hole between her thumb and forefinger. In the book, Lulu does this when her brother is across the yard from her, and she wants to prove that she, sitting on top of a tree, is bigger than he is. My daughter does it to remind herself that she is as big as she wants to be.

The story is about a mundane morning.  Lulu, (Ladybug Girl), the character of the story, has no one to play with. She waters her avocado plant. She counts all the letter “L’s” of the books. She goes outside. That’s it. No conflict. And me, looking for an action packed children’s book, kept wondering what my daughter saw in this book. Why does she want to read it every day? Nothing happens!

Well. This week, my brain finally made the connection. While all the women in this country are thrilled over Hillary Clinton as the first female nominee for president, my daughter is looking at Ladybug Girl with the same awe.

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Ladybug Girl is on her own and in that time that she helps the ants and jumps into a big puddle that “might even have sharks in the deep part!” She lifts a rock over her head and shouts, “I can help you! I’m Ladybug Girl!” The power in the illustration is evident. Girls can do anything. If they imagine it, they can accomplish it.

My daughter has an older brother, (just like Lulu does,) who tells her she’s too small to do certain things. She can’t go to school like he does, play the games he does, or read a book like he does. She’s reminded of this all throughout the day. But when we read this book at night, she sees Lulu, who doesn’t listen to her brother, who lifts up rocks and saves ants and even jumps in a scary, big puddle. Lulu feels “as big as the whole outdoors.” Lulu is brave and strong and resilient. If she can do it, so can I!

There is no glass ceiling in Lulu’s backyard.

Hillary Clinton has had people tell her she can’t. She can’t do these jobs as well as men. She isn’t tough enough, isn’t strong enough, isn’t enough, period.

Lulu is as big as she wants to be. Hillary Clinton could be president. Women can do anything. Our girls may have books that tell them they can be anything, but when they look up from their imagination, now there’s a true role model..and that’s something. Something big.

Something as big as the whole outdoors.

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Sentences in quotations: Taken from Ladybug Girl, by David Soman and Jacky Davis