A girl. A confused girl. You encourage me…then warn me…then encourage me…then warn me…I get confused and so I say sorry. Why should I apologise when my actions do not harm anyone else and I’m just being me?
Title: The Girl Who Said Sorry
Author: Hayoung Yim
Illustrator: Marta Maszkiewicz
ISBN: 9780993717482 Language: English
Themes: self-perception, apologising, unwritten rules
What’s it about?
A young girl finds herself saying “sorry” when she tries to following conflicting advice she is given, for example she wears a pink ballet tutu only to be told she wears pink too much. So she changes and is told she looks too much like a boy – sorry. This happens over and over until people start remarking just how often she is apologising – even apologising for apologising.
The is not a story filled with unnecessary “fluff”; the sentences used are of a repetitive format allowing for easy understanding of the concept/point being made. The sentences are also simple in nature without any fancy words. It has a clear format and makes the objective clear as to why girls should not have to apologise for just being themselves.
What about boys – does the same apply?
I thought this was an interesting looking book when I saw the cover. The simple sketch style with selected colour portions really reminded me of a few books I read as a kid in the 80s. Another element that appealed was that this book was about being yourself and accepting who you are (and not apologising for it).
For today’s society this book is, in many ways, very relevant. Mixed messages about what you can/can’t do or be/can’t be seem to surround the younger generation – something I believe is largely fueled by social media.
But back to the story…it’s a simple message that is conveyed well and if I was teaching an all-girl class this would be in the Use It category. I can see a few issues arising however if attempting to use it in the mainstream co-ed class – such as isolating boys. I am aware this book was written by a feminist and I get the message she is trying to convey…but…boys will ultimately face the same issues. I keep thinking of the first page with the girl in the pink tutu and then think of whenever a boy wears a pink shirt. As a society we have confusing standards but we also still have double standards. While many wouldn’t look twice at the girl in skaterboy clothing, if a boy was to dress in a pink shirt and shorts – I’m pretty sure that the reaction would be much different from the average person.
So where does that leave the book?
It’s a good book, it’s got a good message for girls. So if you are a homeschooling parent with a daughter – then grab it and use it as it could be a very empowering book to read. If your a teacher of a co-ed classroom – yeah, sorry but I would exercise caution unless you have a companion book to read with it for boys, or of course you plan on using this book to look at stereotypes for both girls and boys. That could lead to a lot of great discussions.