Lulu the One and Only
Author: Lynnette Mawhinney
Illustrator: Jennie Poh
Published June 9th, 2020 by Magination Press
Summary: Lulu loves her family, but people are always asking
What are you?
Lulu hates that question. Her brother inspires her to come up with a power phrase so she can easily express who she is, not what she is.
Includes a note from the author, sharing her experience as the only biracial person in her family and advice for navigating the complexity of when both parents do not share the same racial identity as their children.
Praise for Lulu the One and Only! ★“All children will benefit from this pitch-perfect discussion of race, identity, complexity, and beauty.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
About the Author: Lynnette Mawhinney, PhD, is associate professor in the department of curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago helping to prepare future urban teachers for the classroom. She’s written several academic books and articles. LULU THE ONE AND ONLY is her first children’s book. Dr. Mawhinney is biracial, like her character Lulu, and an expert on teaching diverse populations and in urban environments. She lives in Chicago. To learn more, and to download a curriculum guide, visit her website: https://www.
About the Illustrator: Jennie Poh was born in England and grew up in Malaysia (in the jungle). Pen and paper by her side at all times, she loved drawing princesses and writing stories. At the age of ten she moved back to England and trained as a ballet dancer. After failing her art A-level, Jennie decided the art world was definitely for her so she studied fine art at The Surrey Institute of Art & Design as well as Fashion Illustration at Central St. Martins. Jennie lives in Surrey, England.
Review: Representation matters, and I am so happy that Lulu is out in the word for the readers who need her to relate to and those who need her to learn about others. As Dr. Mawhinney shares in the Author’s Note, there are complexities of being a biracial child because their parents may not “understand the perspective of their children, and sometimes mixed-race children can feel alone in their experiences.” Lulu has her brother in the story to help her with THAT question, and now readers have Lulu if they don’t have a Zane. The book is also great for readers of any race to have an example of biracialism in a book.
Aside from the importance of the book and the brilliance that Dr. Mawhinney dealt with introducing Lulu’s race, it is also a well crafted book. I love Lulu’s voice–I could hear her talking to me as I read. I also liked the resolution because it was a great example for children.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Dr. Mawhinney has a Curriculum and Activity Guide for Lulu the One and Only!
Watch the fun book trailer!
Read This If You Love: Hair Love by Matthew Cherry; The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson; Dear Girl by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; I Am Enough by Grace Byers; I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown; Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review and giveaway!**