I Promise by Zanib Mian Illustrated by Maria Migo
Don’t let this 32 page book with minimal text fool you in to thinking that big ideas, strong emotions, and tremendous self empowerment are not effectively conveyed, because despite my initial feelings toward the book, they really are. I would say the target audience is 4 to 8 year olds, but I know plenty of adults that could use the reminder that promises should be kept, especially ones made to one’s self.
On my first reading of the book, I didn’t love the pictures, and while I loved the way the emotions were conveyed when the little girl had to deal with the broken promises, I thought that the jump to being promised the world by another, was a bit abrupt and mature. However, the ideas stayed with me, and the whimsical pictures grew on me, and the more I thought about how so much of our culture revolves around messages of, “happily ever after” and being “saved” that it can never be too early to articulate that we can be in control of our dreams, our happiness, and our futures.
There isn’t anything Islamic in the book, so that caught me off guard as this was the first Zanib Mian book I’ve read that didn’t have at least a main character illustrated as Muslim. It doesn’t articulate if the boy who promised her the world is a husband or a boyfriend, or even what happened to him, as this isn’t his story. He is just one more example of someone who broke a promise.
Overall, a nice large book with a good strong message that shows how if you want the world, you have to go get it yourself, and only make promises you can keep.