Author/Illustrator: Ethan Long
Publisher: LB Kids
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up
From the Book Jacket: Meet Chamelia! Chamelia is a chameleon. Most chameleons like to blend in, but Chamelia prefers to stand out. She just loves being the center of attention. But when standing out means being left out, can Chamelia learn to share the spotlight?
Why It's On My Bookshelf: I'm always on the lookout for "Be Yourself" books. This one had a little bit of a twist on it. I have a feeling it's going to get mixed reviews from some folks. Here's my thoughts.......
First off, I love the reference to chameleons and how they try and blend in with everything. Those darn conformists! But here we have Chamelia who will do nothing of the sort. She is her own person and no apologies about it. She is pretty extreme to the point where she stands out maybe more than she really wants to. She has a very unique sense of style (like wearing high heels during soccer). Her standing out eventually leaves her feeling left out. Some people are going to get freaked out by this message because there will be an uproar that she should just be herself end of story ....happily ever after. Well, the real world doesn't always work that way. Kids have a desire to feel included and fit in. Chamelia wonders if there's a way to join in without giving up who she is. She ends up toning it down while still figuring out how to let parts of herself shine and feeling like she belongs.
So how will I translate this message to the kids? I want kids to know they can still find ways to be different and fit in at the same time. I know there are children in my school who feel like Chamelia. And guess what - they have a lot of gifts kids are missing out on because they end up isolating themselves. It's also important I challenge the other kids on how to support the Chamelia's of the world. Be smart in how you translate the message of Chamelia.
A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful: