In today's world, it's important for children to learn about beauty and representation in all of its forms. Whether it's learning to appreciate their own unique features or embracing diversity in others, children's books can play an essential role in shaping their perceptions of beauty and self-worth.
Navi Kaur Dhillon's first book "This Is Me, Kaur" exposes children to a story that celebrates diversity and challenges traditional beauty standards, helping them to develop a positive self-image and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the beauty in the world around them.
Through its main protagonist, Kaur, the book explores stereotypes associated with beauty and gender. It allows parents to have meaningful conversations on self-care, self-love, and overall mental well-being with their children.
"I don't want children to chase someone else's idea of beauty—through this book, I want to let them know that they are great as they are," emphasizes Dhillon.
She also wishes that such books were around while she was growing up because, as a kid, she only heard parents and other family members refer to a very narrow definition of beauty. "There was a lack of awareness, and until recently, when I was pregnant, I was told to look at my husband's picture, who is lighter skin, so the kids take after him," she adds.
Dhillon started writing this book when she was pregnant with her first child, a son, in 2018. But she only started working on the illustrations while pregnant again, this time with a girl. The response to the book has been extremely positive, with her son wanting to listen to this story and devour the illustrations every night before sleeping. "Even though I had intended this book for girls initially, I've realized how important it is to have these conversations with both your sons and daughter," she says.
While growing up, Dhillon didn't have a chance to share her complexes about beauty with anyone because those discussions were not considered necessary or even normal. Through this book, she wants to normalize and encourage kids to talk about stigmas related to the colour of their skin, weight gain, or anything else that affects them so that parents can address these issues.
Dhillon would like all the parents out there to know that the messaging in the book is global and not limited to any one community, as she has intended this book to segue discussion on more significant issues relating to self-love and self-acceptance in children.
As Dhillon is busy promoting this book, she has already started working on a daily affirmations book for children. The book will have a number of illustrations so kids can pick up on the meanings, and practicing daily affirmations can become a fun activity that parents can do with their kids every day.
This Is Me, Kaur is available for purchase on Amazon.