Molly Morningstar: A Doll for Me
Andrea Coke (author) M. Fernanda Orozco (illustrator)
Adventures In Reverie Publishing Corp. (2021)
Reviewed by Eve Panzer, Barefoot Librarian for Reader Views Kids (05/2022)
Recipient of The Barefoot Librarian Book Award in the Reader Views 2021-2022 Reviewer’s Choice Awards
“Molly Morningstar: A Doll for Me” is not only a relevant and important diverse picture book but also a relatable and entertaining story. It allows children of color to see themselves in the main character, who addresses her situation head-on, takes charge, and comes to a resolution on her own. The author brings her real-life experience as a mother, a person of color, and an educator to this debut picture book.
Molly is excited to be invited to her friend Emma’s birthday tea party, where everyone is asked to bring their favorite doll. But Molly, a young girl of color, cannot find the perfect doll to take to the party. None of her dolls look like her. So, Molly takes the initiative when a shopping trip does not resolve the problem. She creates a doll that is a genuine reflection of herself by using supplies found around her house.
The main character Molly is resolute, sticking to her desire to have a doll that looks like her – despite the setbacks along the way. She is a relatable character who experiences a range of feelings – excitement, sadness, accomplishment, pride, and gratefulness. In addition, she is confident, creative, positive, and shows initiative.
The author and illustrator include details that add value to the book. Stereotyping is thoughtfully avoided. For example, characters in the book represent different cultures, evident in their names and appearance. Despite gender, all the children bring a doll to the party. And when the birthday girl is gifted a new doll, it turns out to be an action figure. In addition, the book promotes other positive messaging, including: “…children need to see themselves reflected in books and toys…”; “… ALL children matter and deserve representation…”; and “Celebrate the beauty in differences.”
The illustrator perfectly captures the book’s mood in colorful, joyful, and playful pictures that will appeal to kids. There are instances where the illustrations and the text dance across the page. The book concludes with an invitation and place for a child to draw their own perfect doll.
“Molly Morningstar: A Doll for Me” is the perfect package to diversify your book collection.