WOW Review: Volume XIV, Issue 1

A young black girl with a large afro and a yellow shirt stands in front of a white background, looking at the viewer.
I Am Enough
Written by Grace Byers
Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
Balzer + Bray, 2018, 32 pp
ISBN: 978-0062667120

This charismatic book encourages young girls to love and appreciate their identities and to embrace the ethnicities and cultural diversity of girls. The illustrations only include girls (no boys or adults). Set in the U.S., the girls have different hair colors and skin colors, some wear glasses, some girls are disabled, and others wear hijabs. Girls engage in activities by themselves and with others, like martial arts, tumbling, racing, singing, and jump roping. The book displays the interaction of girls of different ethnicities through triumphs and defeats, while consistently relying on self-acceptance, sisterly love, and togetherness. These strengths demonstrate the power of girls to overcome gender and racial adversity through self-awareness, friendships, and extracurricular activities. “I know that we don’t look the same: our skin, our eyes, our hair, our frame. But that does not dictate our worth: we both have places here on earth” (p. 24-25). Girls recognize their worth and understand they are uniquely “enough.” The narrator gives insights into the diversity of girls to illustrate girl power rules.

The double-page digital chalk backgrounds are vividly painted with highly saturated hues of acrylic paint. Illustrator Keturah A. Bobo used a white background with minimal pictures to accent the words, which makes the reader feel safe. The illustrations of the girls use brighter colors and bigger sizes to emphasize their importance to the poem. She also uses sidewalk chalk techniques to illustrate basic objects such as a ladder, tree, and clouds. Keturah is inspired by people in her community and natural hair to create work that advocates, shines lights, and uplifts those who are underrepresented or misrepresented. This is elegantly exhibited by the illusion of texture and energetic vertical lines in each scene, giving the reader a sense of inspiration.

The text, written in black ink, is a lyrical ode to loving yourself, respecting others, and being kind as explained in a note from Keturah Bobo and the author, actress and activist Grace Byers. We live in a society where girls are constantly being judged by others for how we look, where we come from, what traditions we believe, and our preferences. Stereotypes created and maintained in our communities have created fear and anger. I Am Enough feels authentic and believable as it relates to girls overcoming obstacles, challenging stereotypes, and embracing diversity in today’s schools and neighborhoods.

I Am Enough is a New York Times best seller and 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Picture Book winner. This book can be paired with other uplifting books such as Skin Like Mine by LaTashia M. Perry (2020), Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin (2020), and Byers’ second book I Believe I Can (2020), a meaningful “can do” poem that supports youth empowerment.

Grace Byers was bullied as a young girl as a biracial, multicultural CODA (child of deaf adults). She spends time volunteering at the non-profit, anti-bullying organization, Saving Our Daughters, as well as volunteering and supporting deaf organizations to bring awareness to deaf culture. Her follow-up book, I Believe I Can (2020), celebrates boys and girls as they strive for their highest potential. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, actor Trai Byers. More information about Grace Byers can be found at Lady Grace Byers and HarperCollins.

Keturah A. Bobo graduated with a BFA from Columbus College of Arts and Design. She is passionate about creating art that inspires, uplifts, and advocates for her community. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her family of entrepreneurs. Visit her website for more information.

Aretina Cotton, Texas Woman’s University
Jessica Salgado, Texas Woman’s University
Monica Schneider, Texas Woman’s University

© 2021 by Aretina Cotton, Jessica Salgado, and Monica Schneider
Creative Commons License

WOW Review, Volume XIV, Issue 1 by Worlds of Words is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on work by Aretina Cotton, Jessica Salgado, and Monica Schneider at

One thought on “WOW Review: Volume XIV, Issue 1

  1. Tom Moats says:

    Thanks you! What an eye opening review!!!! So well written and dedicated to the truth of representing our daily lives, our first thoughts, our judgements. At 70 I reflect back on my life and realized at a younger age that I unknowingly judged sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste from my surroundings and events! It is so rewarding that at an early age our senses can be richly directed from reading these kind of observed stories. Opening our eyes and hearts to knew horizons!

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