Around the time she turned five, my daughter became more aware of the opinions of others around her. “What if they don’t like my project?” “What if they laugh at my jacket?”
We look for confidence boosters so that my daughter will focus on being true to herself. Books with a strong girl protagonist help spark discussion in our household.
Ida Louise and the Lucky Sweater, by Julie Augensen, is a charming story about finding confidence. Believing she has a lucky sweater, the title character has the courage to make new friends and have an adventure. Ida Louise discovers that her sweater was just an ordinary garment, after all, and that everything she accomplished came from within.
Julie has a fun page on her website describing her collaboration with her illustrator, Cartalya Davis, and encouraging fans to spot the differences between the original sketches and the published pictures.
My daughter really appreciated the details about the landscape of Ida Louise’s homeland of Norway and the quirkiness of the heroine, who likes gazing at paintings in art museums and giving elaborate, descriptive, vaguely French-sounding names to her animal and flower friends.
I was a bit concerned about the revelation that the talking flower’s parents were no longer alive–their area of the meadow had been fenced in as a sheep pasture–but my daughter took this plot point in stride. Death and loss is touched upon peripherally as Ida Louise also has lost her parents and lives with her grandparents.
Part of what makes Ida Louise so charming is that she really is simply a little girl–just like the reader. She has no special powers or super abilities and she does not defy the odds or win a prize. The book focuses more on her journey than a goal.
Like Ida Louise, my daughter sometimes worries that she is too young to help others and to have adventures of her own. She related to Ida Louise’s story and is eager to have adventures of her own!