A book that shares a powerful message is what you’ll find in Not Fat Because I Wanna Be by LaNiyah Bailey.
Six-year-old LaNiyah is tired of being picked on by her classmates just because she’s different. Even though she eats a healthy diet, she’s still a big girl. She doesn’t know why until her new doctor runs some tests. With the love and support of her family, LaNiyah is able to share her story with her classmates, so they understand the “inside her.”
I’m not sure what amazes me more about this book: that a child of this age is selfless enough to want to be an advocate for others or that she has the courage to write her story and share it with the world. Not Fat Because I Wanna Be is a truly inspiring story that captures the importance of family love and support in tackling the issue of bullying and helping bullied kids to feel good about themselves. As someone who was teased through her school years, I’m very sensitive to this issue. Now, it seems even more dangerous than it was back then. In our local communities we have had two young people in the past three years commit suicide after being subjected to extensive bullying and cyber-bullying.
Six-year-old Bailey tells her story in the first person, which helps the reader connect with her and feel the emotions she feels as the book moves along. Your heart aches when you read the names she is called; just as much as it leaps for joy when her new doctor helps her understand what is going on with her body. You cheer for her when she courageously answers a mean classmate who asks why she is so fat. And you can’t help but smile when the same girl becomes her best friend.
The artwork is provided by Laura Perez Ricaud. She did a superb job in telling LaNiyah’s story in a visual way. From the cover to the very last page, her illustrations will captivate young readers and encourage questions and discussion points.
Not Fat Because I Wanna Be by LaNiyah Bailey needs to be in all our elementary schools and shared often. This book can help parents and educators open the door for discussions on tolerance and diversity. I highly recommend Not Fat Because I Wanna Be by LaNiyah Bailey!