This is Me: A Story of Who We Are & Where We Came From
Written by Jamie Lee Curtis
Illustrated by Laura Cornell
“For who you all are isn’t JUST what you’ve GOT, but part what you learn, part what you’re taught. Who you become STARTS with your past, family histories and stories that last.”
“Where did you come from? Because it wasn’t here.” That’s the message written on a classroom chalkboard at the start of Jamie Lee Curtis’ This is Me. For those of us who aren’t Native American, our ancestors all came to this land from somewhere.
This is Me is a collection of questions about immigration, ancestry, and what it means to call a place home. In one scene, a narrator tells us about her great-grandmother, who arrived from “a far, distant place. She came on a boat, with just this small case.” The objects in the case tell us much about what life was like for the great-grandmother as a little girl. Readers are encouraged to ask questions and make inferences about the items that represent a little girl’s life.
At the end of the book, students are encouraged to think: if you had to leave today, what would you bring? The book suggests that the objects we choose probably aren’t our most expensive possessions. Instead, we choose items that connect to the people and places we call home.
This book landed on my bookshelf at a time when so many children are asking big questions about identity, immigration, and what it means to be an American. This book deserves a place in classrooms and homes so that it can start conversations about what defines us. After all, our identity isn’t just what we’ve got. It’s part what we learn and part what we’re taught.