Behind the Book: I Love Being Me
last updated 17 December 2020
From illustrating Superheroes Are Everywhere by Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, to gracing shelves with her author-illustrated titles Cool Cuts and Happy Hair Girls, Mechal Roe has stayed quite busy this year. And just when we thought her resume couldn’t get any better, I Love Being Me, also author-illutrated by Mechal, published December 15 with Penguin Random House. With an adorable style and an array of characters, I Love Being Me allows young readers to flip through the pages and find themselves accurately represented, no matter their interests, skin color, or even their hair style. We were thrilled to hear more from Mechal about her process in creating this title. Enjoy!
This title has a message that goes beyond the page, what was your inspiration in creating this story? Do you personally resonate with the message?
When creating this title, I was at a point in my life where it was becoming more important that I love myself beyond the message the world was giving me. I thought if I helped other young kids to love themselves at an early age they would feel more confident in themselves. I remember being a kid and being insecure because I didn’t do or like things other kids did. I wanted to encourage younger kids to love themselves.
I Love Being Me promotes self-esteem, self-respect and strength in young girls. What was your goal in developing various personalities and characteristics of each girl in the book?
I believe the earliest you can believe in yourself and empower yourself the sooner you can make informed and confident decisions. With this confidence you can dream beyond your beliefs and accomplish new and daring goals.
I wanted to show a varied amount of little girls with different skin tones and hair types. I wanted underrepresented kids to open the book and see themselves. This is my goal with all of my work.
What do you hope readers take away from reading I Love Being Me?
I hope readers feel connected to characters that look like them actively doing things they enjoy. When you are a kid, you may shy away from things because others are not doing it, but as you learn to love yourself, you value your own self-worth, joy, and interests.
How did your agent, James Burns, play a role in developing this book?
My agent, James, has such insightful feedback when it comes to the publishing industry. He works from gut instinct and can give me feedback before an editor/art director sees the work. It’s great to have that support as you create your work.
Thanks for reading December’s Behind the Book blog! Keep up with our monthly blogs as we highlight more amazing titles illustrated by other #BrightArtists!
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