Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers: A story inspired by Loujain Alhathloul by Lina Alhathloul & Uma Mishra-Newbery, illustrated by Rebecca Green.


Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers: A story inspired by Loujain Alhathloul by Lina Alhathloul & Uma Mishra-Newbery, illustrated by Rebecca Green. Astra Books, 2022. 9781662650642

Rating:1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.5

Format : Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book? Loujain dreams of flying but she learns that girls are not allowed to fly. Loujain’s dreams are first challenged outside the home. Luckily, her mother eventually challenges her father to make her dreams a reality. Inspired by Saudi activist Loujain Alhathloul, the strengths of this title are the illustrations and introduction to the topic of equal rights while the biographical information that appears at the end of the book serves to make the story stronger and more inspirational. Simple strong lines, a wonderful balance of close up and faraway views of Loujain, members of her family both at home and outside the home, are joined by vibrant colors. These illustrations are especially effective when contrasting her dreams of flying over a field of flowers and the current realities of her life. The conclusion showing Loujain witnessing another little girl becoming aware of Loujain’s success via a newspaper provides additional inspiration.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It is quite possible that the metaphor that is the backbone of the story of the book may not be understood by the audience that the illustrations will attract. Older children will understand and appreciate the metaphor, but they may not pick up the book unless led to it.The question that begins the book is repeated at the end of the book and may dilute the story’s conclusion of one girl being an inspiration to another girl. 

To whom would you recommend this book? Teachers of 1st – 3rd graders and schools with an interest in studying the world.

Who should buy this book? Some public and school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction, women’s rights would be better than biographies

Should we put on our “to read” pile? Maybe

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Wolflink, former head of children’s services, Winchester Public Library, MA

Date of review:February 19, 2022 

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