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Written by: Kelly Strongitharm

Illustrated by: Jayri Gómez

Recommended Audience: 4+​

If you’re looking for a way to bring up meaningful conversation topics with your kids, this book is a great place to start.​


I am Emmanuel is written by Kelly Strongitharm, a lower mainland mom, and illustrated by Jayri Gómez, an artist in the Dominican Republic.


It is a beautiful book that illustrates parallels, and differences, between the main character and many of the children reading the story. Emmanuel lives in the Dominican Republic, and he loves going to school. He dreams of being either a baseball player or a scientist when he grows up. But sometimes he can’t attend school because he outgrows his shoes, and his parents can’t afford new ones. (Did you know you can’t attend school if you don’t have shoes in the Dominican Republic?)​


Emmanuel tells us all about his family, including five brothers and sisters, his home, and his favourite trees to climb. The story represents the Dominican culture and aims to connect readers through shared ambition while acknowledging the differences kids face based on where they are born.​


There are questions posed throughout the story that can lead to great discussions about other cultures and ways of life. This book offers an easy way to spark conversations about education, representation, and acceptance.​


Fun fact: All proceeds from I am Emmanuel go to Ruben’s Shoes Society, a local charity that sends kids in the Dominican Republic to school.


​Find it:

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Emmanuel interior.jpg
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