What Will My Story Be? by Nidhi Chanani. Viking, Penguin Random House, 2021. 9780593205068
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Format: Hardcover picture book
What did you like about the book? A young narrator enjoys a teatime visit from three aunties, who entertain and inspire the little girl with stories of their past. The women each share memories, and she listens with rapt attention and begins to wonder what her own story will be. And while her stories at first tend toward the fantastic – unicorns and dragons and ‘pantless pirates’ – she is confident that her aunties will listen and help her find her own voice.
Gorgeous, jewel-toned, full bleed illustrations accompany spare text as the brown-skinned, curly-haired girl contemplates the many stories she might tell. Each picture has small details sure to intrigue the reader, and it is fun to look for the girl’s cat in each scene. The aunties seem to each be of a different race, and each has an interesting backstory that is only hinted at: one immigrated by boat, one struggled to learn English, and one is an environmentalist. What Will My Story Be? is light to read, and a sweet reminder of the value of those family friends who end up feeling like family.
Anything you did not like about the book? Young readers might be puzzled by the unclear relationship between the girl and her aunties (parents are nowhere in sight) and the theme of finding your voice is rather esoteric for the target audience.
To whom would you recommend this book? It would make a nice gift for an ‘auntie’ to share with a young friend; it could also serve as inspiration for an interesting project for students in grades preK-2 to interview the important adults in their own lives and learn their stories.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.
Date of review: January 20, 2022