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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Being Free is a children's book by author Sheila Jackson. It’s important to be yourself at all times: when you’re singing, dancing, making faces for a photoshoot, or even standing up for what you believe is right. That’s what it means to be free: to be able to express one’s feelings and opinions at all times and in any environment. It’s partly a self-affirming statement of who you are and who you want to be, who you want the world to see like you. One little girl does just that: singing, dancing, making best friends with ease, stating her opinion freely, and standing up against bullies. Standing strong for who you are is what it means to be free.
Sheila Jackson’s picture book story, Being Free, is a powerful tool to teach the very young how to be themselves and feel secure in who they are. Told in rhyming verse with colorful illustrations, the message is presented quite simply, going through a wide range of examples of how young people (and, for that matter, people of all ages) can feel good about themselves at all times and in all situations and environments – in other words, they can feel free. The rhyming verse introduces young readers to poetry in a fun way while inspiring them to feel good about everything they do. The simple language and lyrical verse also encourage young readers to enjoy the gift of reading. At the end of the book is an interactive activity to make young readers feel that they, too, are part of this story, and by inserting photos of themselves, they can claim their ‘being free’ momentum. Being Free is a beautifully told and well-presented tale.