Book review ''Kayla: A Modern-Day princess'' by Deedee Cummings
Kayla is a little girl who dreams getting on stage one day. Her hard-working mum tries to empower Keyla to believe in herself, to make plans, to have dreams and wishes, to be strong no matter how people see her, to have hope. Mum herself works long hours and she finally gets a promotion, as a reward for her commitment and hard work. Keyla’s mum sees her little girl as what she truly is, a gift. She sees her as a princess, which I guess is normal, right?
I am London’s global cohost for the amazing Multicultural Children’s book day and I was lucky to be gifted with many great books that celebrate diversity and promote reading #ReadYourWorld .
Deedee’s Cummings ‘’Kayla: A modern-Day Princess’’ is a sweet story about hope, dreams, effort, courage, love, family bonds, self-belief. Inspired by the life of Broadway actress Kayla Pecchioni, Deedee wrote a story with so many beautiful messages across, placing the precious mother-daughter bond at the epicentre of her narrative. The book has a beautiful illustration full of vibrant colours that catch the reader’s attention and often compliment the text.
We see Kayla, this gorgeous little girl daydreaming, talking to the moon, playing, dancing on stage as ballerina (which the story suggests is her big dream), laughing in her mummy’s arms. We witness Kayla’s dreams and determination to conquer the world and we see Kayla as a princess in a tower which makes me wonder: is there place in today’s world for princesses and do we still want our girls to be seen and treated as such?
A hard-working mum, a fighter, greets her little girl when she returns late from work by saying ‘’How is my sweet little princess in her tower?’’ which I did find a little uncomfortable to read and a bit strange. Kayla is her little princess, and as the title suggests Deedee Cummings sees her as a modern-day princess but I do kind of struggle to see anything modern in a picture of a young girl in a tower looking out of her window as if waiting for her knight in a shining armour. Later on when talking to Kayla mum says ‘’ I want you to always be treated special, like royalty, because this is what you are’’.
Yes women, same as everyone, are special and have to be treated with respect; women are strong and beautiful and competent and can achieve anything they want, become anything they want to, go everywhere, define their own identity and we as mothers, teachers, women need to empower them to see themselves as what they truly are, wonderful girls, women, mothers, engineers, pilots, writers, chefs, athletes, human beings. And the funniest thing is that the Kayla I met in the story doesn’t fit the ‘princess in a tower’ description to me. Is it my own stereotypes of princesses I object to? Perhaps..
I have nothing against princesses and tiaras. But the sentence the little girl says to herself towards the end is more my cup of tea.
‘’No matter how big or scary her dreams may be.. Kayla would find a way. She would make a way.’’
Can she make her way in a princess dress? I am definitely not the one to tell.
Activities - Discussion points
''Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess'' can be a great opportunity to discuss dreams, goals and how are these going to be achieved, encouraging your child to express his thoughts, feelings and wishes. A nice activity could be creating a scrapbook with photos of your child's role models or heroes, quotes, targets, achievements and even unsuccessful efforts that will work as a self-reflect diary, reminder and motivation to try again. It will be absolutely amazing to see your child growing with it or even changing her mind of becoming a fashion designer instead of a butcher (true story of my niece, I swear!)
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.
Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.
MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!
FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Prgamaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com)
Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media
Gold Sponsors: Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, Capstone, Hoopoe Books, KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.
Silver Sponsors: Charlotte Riggle, Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Pack-N-Go Girls
Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi and AMELIE is IMPRESSED!, Barnes Brothers Books, Create and Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom Tales Press, My Well Read Child
MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!
Poster Artist: Nat Iwata
Authors: Author Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell , Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & Intrepids, Author Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club, Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald-Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Tales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series
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FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents
Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit
FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit
FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit