All the Faces of Me

All the Faces of Me cover
All the Faces of Me by Laura Alary. Illustrated by Salini Perera

By Laura Alary
Illustrated by Salini Perera
Owlkids, 2023
262 pages

Ages 3-7

A young girl fascinated by her Nana’s set of traditional nesting dolls notes that they all have identical smiles. Deciding the dolls shouldn’t be stuck with the same smiles, the girl “fixes” them, adding a range of expressions to their faces. She’s happy with her effort. Nana is not, and she angrily takes the “ruined” dolls (and dessert!) away. The girl is mad too, insisting that “If those dolls were me … they would not all be the same” because she has different feelings at different times; there are even different kinds of happiness. “Somehow they all fit together. So many people wrapped up in one.” After considering, Nana agrees; the hug she gives “is big enough to hold all of me.” Brimming with humor and emotional honesty, this superb picture book skillfully translates complex ideas about emotions and identity into an accessible story full of child-appeal. Terrific pacing also distinguishes this tale of a loving (if momentarily fraught) relationship between a brown-skinned girl and her white grandmother. The exceptional storytelling is paired with illustrations that have a naïve yet slightly edgy quality. ©2024 Cooperative Children’s Book Center