"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Different Like Coco

Different Like Coco
Author/Illustrator: Elizabeth Matthews
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN-10: 0763625485
ISBN-13: 978-0763625481

I loved this book! First of all, I’m a big Coco Chanel fan. Love those clothes and that vintage Chanel look. Of course, being a curvy Latina I’d never fit in her vintage stuff. What I really loved about this book though was the fact that it tells about a young, poor girl wanting more, striving for it, dreaming of it and making it happen. I loved that Coco changed fashion to suit her instead of changing herself to suit fashion. Different Like Coco is a fantastic little book with some important lessons.

We live in a society that is so focused on what is perceived to be beauty and are pretty darn obsessed with it. I hate that. It drives me crazy. I worry about my granddaughters and their self-image and try to turn them away from all that stuff.

My granddaughters are never going to be sized zero boyish looking waifs. Curves are their legacy and curves are beautiful. They’re not going to look like Coco. They can however, have her fiery and independent spirit. They can make the world to suit themselves. I want my granddaughters to know that they are beautiful, intelligent, kind and caring young women who need to be happy and celebrate just how beautiful they are inside and out. Real beauty. Goodness needs to shine through, not how much you make or how skinny you are.

It’s an ongoing battle when they are bombarded with television, magazines, billboards, you name it and to top it off, we live in L.A., Hollywood is a skip away. It’s going to be a rough and stormy battle as they grow up. Books like this one are important in that battle.

Little girls will love this book as will their mothers. The illustrations are beautiful and they give a sense of what Coco must have been like. Personality and style fairly leaps off the pages. The story is a great inspiration based upon a real role model for little girls to look up to. Highly recommended!

Book Description from the publisher:

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel was always different. And she vowed to prove that being different was an advantage! Poor, skinny, and orphaned, Coco stubbornly believed that she was as good as the wealthier girls of Paris. Tapping into her creativity and her sewing skills, she began making clothes that suited her (and her pocketbook) -- and soon a new generation of independent working women craved her sleek, comfortable, and practical designs. Now an icon of fashion and culture, Coco Chanel continues to inspire young readers, showing just how far a person can come with spunk, determination, and flair. The rags-to-riches story of Coco Chanel plays out in a wonderful picture-book biography as full of style and spirit as its heroine.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Matthews makes her chic picture-book debut with this lively look at a legendary woman. Says the author-illustrator, "When I look in my closet, it’s easy to appreciate what Coco Chanel accomplished for herself, for women, for fashion, and, of course, for little black dresses everywhere." A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Elizabeth Matthews lives in Cumberland, Rhode Island.

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