Disclosure: I received this book to help facilitate the review. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.
Carol Gahara Harris is a Michigan native who has self-published a wonderful book that has earned the 2013 Gold rating from this year's Mom's Choice Awards. My Name is Leona tells the story of a little girl who doesn't like her given name. Working her way through a variety of other, 'more ordinary' names, Leona finally learns how her name came about and why it makes her special. She ends up liking her name, very much.
The illustrator the author partnered with on this book, Kim Fuijwara deserves mention because his work is also fan-tas-tic and then some! The nice, colorful, true-to-life pictures of Leona as she goes about her day cannot help but make you smile. I loved them all, and even the picture on the back of the book jacket made me happy. :)
Interestingly enough, Mr. Fuijwara, who has 30 years of relevant experience, is good friends with Harris' husband, having gotten to know him at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Also interesting (and awesome!), the author tells that Leona was the name of her grandmother, and the alternate names her book character considers are all names of people within her family!
This is a book that resonates well with most any adult, as most of us have gone through a period where we have thought about our name. It is also a great book for building self-esteem and helping children to see the importance of embracing their individuality.
Keep your eyes and ears open for upcoming charity events linked to the book, and/or attended by the author.
I recommend this book with five stars (the rating I just gave it on Amazon).
You can purchase My Name is Leona at http://www.carolgaharaharris.com, in some stores in Michigan and Texas (see website for locations), and/or at Amazon.
You can also follow My Name is Leona on Facebook.