Written by Queen Latifah, Illustrated by Frank Morrison
Laura Geringer Books, 2006
I’m queen of the scene.
Baby, I’m a star!
I make games look easier
Than they are.
What made this author famous? Queen Latifah is a rapper, singer, model and actress who has been recognized with a Golden Globe, a Grammy, two SAG awards and an Academy Award nomination.
The queen of the scene is happy to show off her skills. She’s good at hopscotch, unbeatable in a race and the best at handball, stickball and basketball. She encourages those standing on the sidelines to get back in the game but she’s willing to step in for them if they just can’t do it. She can swing higher than anyone on the swings and builds queen-worthy castles in the sandbox. She ends by telling all girls to be proud and to never give up because all girls have a queen inside who walks tall.
Queen Latifah (whose real name is Dana Owens) takes her role model status seriously and spreads messages of empowerment, especially for girls, through just about everything she does. This book is intended to build self-esteem in girls by showing them a girl who believes very strongly in herself and achieves a lot of success because of it. Unfortunately, it just comes across to me as a girl who brags excessively about her own accomplishments. The book comes with a CD that features a rap version of the book’s text and maybe if I had been able to hear the song (the CD was missing in my copy), I would have gotten the message a little more clearly. That ‘I’m the best’ attitude works better in rap music, where it comes across as more fun and a little less heavy-handed.
Frank Morrison’s artwork was a ton of fun, though. He sets the Queen in a colorful urban setting and dresses her up in a pink dress over rolled-up jeans, ponytails and bright pink and green sneakers. She definitely stands out in the diverse crowd of kids that she plays with on the playground. The book ends with her going home to her parents at the end of the day, stressing that even the Queen has to answer to someone, and that picture is probably my favorite in the whole book. It’s a fun story, but the message got a little muddled and on that level, it just didn’t work for me.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that believing in yourself gives you the confidence to accomplish big things.