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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Mr. Eli has announced to the class that they will be having a career day and everyone is to dress up in their chosen profession and present it to the class. In order to choose a career, they must first choose a letter. Mila chooses the letter ‘D’; now she has to choose a career that starts with ‘D.’ She’s worried she won’t find something suitable for her. She can’t be a dancer because she gets all the moves wrong; she can’t be a DJ because Mr. Eli says no music is allowed in the presentations. So what will she be? And will she have the courage to present her career and impress both the class and the teacher?
LaTonya Butler’s picture book, Mila & Friends: Destined to Be, is an encouragement booster story to help young readers build their self-confidence. The plot is simple: it follows Mila’s dilemma of choosing a career to present to the class and how she struggles with her choice and her self-confidence in presenting her choice. There is lots of dialogue to make this an easy read for young readers and the bright, colorful illustrations help carry the story along. There are several powerful messages packed into this little gem of a book. Not only is the author hoping to help young readers build their self-confidence, but this building block also includes self-love, discovery, and motivation. We are all unique, individual, and powerful in our own right and we can dream big and aspire to those dreams. At the end of the book, after Mila has presented her career choice, there is a brief biography of two historic figures who also worked hard to achieve their dreams and follow the same career choice. Beautifully told and presented.