Sunday 24 May 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Born to be Different by John Ignatius Rigoli

Born to be Different
Author: John Ignatius Rigoli
Genre: Picture Book
Publication Date: 13 December 2018

Book Description:
Ollie didn’t know he was a big weirdo… not until the day other kids made fun of him.

Ollie went home and he put away his costumes. He put away his capes. He closed the door on the special world he created and said goodbye to all the friends only he could see. Ollie was going to be “normal” - no different than all the other kids in the world. No one would ever laugh at him again!

But Ollie had a problem. Ollie wasn’t LIKE all the other kids in the world. Ollie was born to be different!

And so were you.

"Born to be Different" is a love-letter from a doting grandfather to his beloved grandson - and a welcome reminder to all the kids in the world that being different is exactly what makes you so very special!

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I picked this book up because of the title. I thought, "there must be something in here that everyone can relate to", so it should be a great book for kids and for the family as a whole. I won't lie. It didn't blow me away or connect with me on an emotional level, but I appreciated the intention and I loved the bright and colourful illustrations. I also loved the message from Ollie's grandfather and the way in which he approached the difficulties Ollie was facing.

The issue I had with this one is that there was no identifiable dilemma. The message may be lost on some children as they are unable to make comparisons and identify with the main character. People make fun of Ollie because he's different, but in what context is he different? He states: "My skin is different" and "My eyes are different", but in relation to whom? What is the actual issue Ollie is facing? Other than his grandfather, there were no verbal interactions between Ollie and anyone, and in the absence of relativity, it's difficult to connect with the story and its characters.

It's a good read, but it could have been better executed.


Award: Silver
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Source: Own copy

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