“I Am Brilliant,” by Jennifer Craig. Insight Strategist. 32 pages. $10.
Child and family therapist Jennifer Craig has penned a delightful book for children (or their parents) that strives to offset the media blitz of debilitating messages about beauty. We’ve all seen the impossibly gorgeous, slender models with the perfect skin and hair used by advertisers of cosmetic products to sell their wares. We’ve all seen the attractive younger models donned in outfits for the ideally-proportioned teen or tween. So have young girls who will never attain the outward appearance that consciously or otherwise registers as their worth indicator – the key to acceptance and popularity.
Ms. Craig, a licensed mental health practitioner, is out to redirect young people’s understanding of the keys to self-esteem. “I Am Brilliant,” subtitled “Steps to Finding Your Brilliance,” encourages youngsters (primarily girls, though the problem exists for boys as well) to focus on individuality and inner beauty. The young reader might find herself truly being herself – and enjoying being herself – rather than chasing after the accoutrements of fashion and developing unhealthy eating habits in an attempt to copy an impossible and misleading standard.
As well, these readers are likely to better understand how to value others – by looking for the inner beauty and brilliance of those whom they meet.
“I Am Brilliant” is a tiny book with an enormous message. In it, we meet a dog named Sugar who notices that the dogs on television are all smaller than she is, and those very dogs are flattered with attention and opportunity. Sugar thinks she has to shrink to find happiness. Of course, this cannot be. . . .
To read this review in its entirety as it appears in the June 8, 2011 issue of Fort Myers Florida Weekly and June 9 issue of the Naples edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Jennifer Craig pdf