Cover image for Just like me
Just like me
Uniform Title:
Poems. Selection

1st ed.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm.
There are all kinds of girls! Girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don't; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mom and girls who wish they had a daddy. With bright portraits in vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites you to find yourself within its pages.--inside front cover.


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I am a canvas
Being painted on
By the words of my family
And community

From Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the author of Grandma's Purse , comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds- girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don't; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa's signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.

Author Notes

Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter who studied fashion illustration at FIT and children's book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is the author and illustrator of Grandma's Purse and has illustrated numerous children's books, including Sewing Stories by Barbara Herkert. Vanessa currently makes her nest in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes. Learn more about Vanessa and her artwork at and on Facebook.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3--This collection of 28 poems features bright and colorful illustrations depicting a variety of girls. Brantley-Newton's artwork pops with neon bright shades and interesting textiles, exuding a welcoming, cheerful vibe. The poems encourage girls to love their bodies and families, and to embrace their unique personalities. On the surface, this appears to be a work of feel-good poems for young readers; however, a handful of verses discuss topics that might deter some adults from using the book as a storytime read-aloud, like "Sundress Blues," in which a gust of wind exposes a girl's underwear. "A Wish for Daddy" shows a young girl who envies another girl's tender relationship with her father. There is a subtle reference to religion in "Memawh's Wisdom," where a girl is cautioned to make "the right choice…and keep the Good Book handy…and don't forget to pray." Readers will appreciate the author's inclusive approach to the artwork (girls of many races are represented), though the illustrations are not diverse in terms of body type, physical ability, or gender expression. VERDICT A bright addition to refresh any poetry collection.--Shannon O'Connor, Unami Middle School, Chalfont, PA

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this picture-book poetry collection, Brantley-Newton (Grandma's Purse) writes in the voices of various girls, exploring themes such as community and identity ("I Am a Canvas"), simple pleasures ("Summer Loves"), and unavoidable troubles ("Pimples"). Ranging from a few lines to the length of a page, the poems are matched with bright, textured, mixed-media illustrations featuring a variety of girls--curly and straight haired, ethnically diverse, blemish dotted, glasses wearing, spunky, shy, lonely, and empowered--in highly relatable moments. One standout piece, "A Wish For Daddy," departs from some of the sunnier themes to address a feeling of longing: a brown-skinned girl with braids watches the joyful interactions between a schoolmate and her grinning father: "She dances on his feet/ and he tells her she's sweet/ I wish I had a daddy/ That would be so neat." Thoughtful, inclusive, and celebratory, this collection encourages readers to look both inward and outward, and to use kindness as a link to "go/ higher and higher/ pulling each one up." Ages 4--8. (Jan.)

Horn Book Review

Each poem in this collection is narrated by a different young girl about some aspect of her identity that she celebrates (I am a warrior / willing to fight the good fight), worries over (loneliness, shyness, body acceptance), or simply enjoys (I love a good Coca-Cola with peanuts inside). In one poem, a child who feels excluded by her peers fights back by affirming her self-worth: So why dont you just open the door / cause next time Im kicking it down. The culminating piece is called Paper Chain, and, as has been apparent throughout, each young woman is revealed as a link in a chain, unique in her own way but inextricably tied to the otherswith diversity only strengthening their bonds. Brantley-Newtons distinctively textured and patterned mixed-media illustrations combine acrylic paint, gouache, charcoal, pencil, oil pastels, and handmade and collage papers (and lots of magic) to portray scenes that are warm and sunny or more quiet and contemplative. Poems mainly home in on a single emotion or moment, and the illustrations perfectly capture each pieces sentiment through expressive facial expressions and body language. Julie Hakim Azaam January/February 2020 p.101(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Brantley-Newton delivers a book of poems featuring girls of all kinds.The first few poems"I Am a Canvas," "The Day I Decided To Become Sunshine," and "Warrior"draw readers in through personal perspectives before "All in Together Girls" pulls out to a group perspective: "If we view each other with amazing grace / our America would be such a great place." Characters express deep self-love in "I Love My Body" and mild angst in "Pimple." A city girl longs to be a country girl, and a country girl longs to be a city girl. One girl is "weird," one is shy, one is "mixed." One girl wishes for a daddy; another lists her "Memawh's Wisdom" on how to be "a great lady someday." The girls are diverse in race, ethnicity, style, situation, relationships, and personality, and on the final spread, they all link up "like a paper chain / made of every single / color / / pulling each other up / / until our link crosses the world / like the change / we long to see." Brantley-Newton's attractive illustrations feature bright colors and layered textures and patterns, with such variety that each page has its own feel to suit its story. The poems are simple, upbeat, and affirminga great reminder of what is to be gained when girls appreciate their own uniqueness and that of others.A dynamic, uplifting, and welcoming world of girls. (Picture book/poetry. 4-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Brantley-Newton's vibrantly illustrated picture book offers an empowering yet playful collection of poems that explores the beauty and nuances of girlhood. Despite the girl-power through line, well over half of the poems apply to children of any gender. For instance, Warrior declares, I am a warrior / willing to fight the good fight / Respectfully / with humanity / and lovingly. And while a multi-cultural group of girls jumps rope in All in Together Girls, the message of this poem applies to all: We all belong to the human race / Diversity will help us keep the pace. The mixed-media artwork fashioned with paints, pastels, collage, handmade paper, and ""lots of magic"" features relatable, detailed scenes that pop with color and diversity. The wide array of topics covered is evident in the poems' titles: I Love My Body, Pimples, Explorer, Gumbo Me, and I Am a Canvas, to name a few. Bursting with positivity, this would be a great book to use in primary school classrooms when discussing issues of friendship, diversity, and self-esteem.--Tiffany Flowers Copyright 2019 Booklist