Smile So Big
by Sunshine Quem Tenasco
illustrated by Chef Lady Bird
Northwinds Press, 2023
$21.99, 32 pp, ages 5 – 7
When Challa came home one day feeling sad because she had been teased about her big smile, her mother gave her a beautiful, beaded mirror. The mirror had been passed down through her family’s generations, and it was Challa’s turn to receive it. Challa’s mother said that the mirror revealed one’s true self, but the person looking at their reflection had to first say aloud what they saw in the reflection. When Challa looked into the mirror, she said, “I’m smiling so big, I sure do look cute!” With Challa’s declaration, the mirror’s beads lit up, and Challa felt better. Challa was eager to share the magic of the mirror with her friends, who also sometimes felt bad about their appearance. As each friend looked into the mirror, saw beauty, and declared what they loved about themselves, the mirror responded.
Curriculum Connections: This story conveys the message that you will be happy and proud when you love yourself despite what anyone else says about you. Sharing this book with your class will provide opportunities for discussions about teasing, body image, and self-confidence. The mirror helped Challa develop her identity as she came to believe in her own beauty.
Review by Diana Mumford.
This review is featured in Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Spring 2023 issue.