It’s been thirty years since Amazing Grace was first published. The author Mary Hoffman has always believed that “…all stories are for all people.” She received some criticism for being white and writing about a black girl but Hoffman’s aim was clear, she wanted all children to see themselves in books.
The book is based on Grace who is passionate about acting and pantomime. She is imaginative and fun and when school announce they are to perform Peter Pan, Grace couldn’t be more excited. However, her classmates declare that she can’t be Peter Pan, because she is a girl and she also can’t be Peter Pan, because she is black.
Because she is black.
Grace’s family, which consists of her ma and nana, another unique aspect of the book for its time, sharing a single family, are evidently upset. Nana though is the one that shares wise words with her granddaughter and gently explains to Grace that you can do whatever you want, “…if you put your mind to it.”
This book is an award winning read, raising issues that do I need to say, are still prevalent today, thirty years on.
Caroline Binch’s illustrations are timeless. They beautifully share Grace and her family, her school setting and the joy that acting brings Grace. The illustrations are warm and realistic, so talented.
This is a brilliant book, sharing that we are more alike then different but also encouraging discussions about race, and about not letting go of those aspirations no matter what people say.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publishers for the purpose of review. Thank you. All words and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.