This week I present another favorite book of my childhood to you. A classic book that is as up-to-date as in 1972 when it was published in Austria for the first time!
Little-I-am-me by Mira Lobe (1913–1995) and illustrated by Susi Weigel (1914–1990), both Austrians. In commemoration of the 100th birthdays of Mira Lobe and Susi Weigel, Wien Museum dedicates an exhibition to these two creators of much-loved children’s literature: ICH BIN ICH (06.11.14 – 01.03.15). They published a large number of widely popular children’s books, but Little-I-am-me is my favourite.
The book has been translated into several languages, but only last month it was published in English – finally! The story is written in sweet little rhymes and it is about a funny little colorful animal looking for an answer to that age-old question: Who am I?
The happy little colorful animal wanders on a flowery meadow when it is suddenly asked by a frog “Who are you?” and it does not know the answer. He starts a little journey to find out the answer and asks several animals, if they know who it is and if it is similar to them. Dogs, horses, fish, hippopotamus, birds deny that the little animal is like them, some of them in a friendly way, some of them with rude, arrogant manners. At the end it has a real identity crisis, but then shouts out: Of course I exist. I AM ME! Little I-am-me is happy again and enjoys his surroundings like before being confident. Childhood and adolescence is full of little (or even big) identity crisis. Sometimes it is important to be reminded that everyone is unique and perfect the way he is and that it should be respected the way it is. I still love to read the book to my kids and feel better afterwards…
You also find easy instructions to craft the little I-am-me, the idea is so cute! Craft a little colorful friend for and with your kids!
This is taken from the description of the exposition of Wien Museeum, a great summary of the works of the talented duo:
The author-illustrator duo brought novel ideas and approaches to literature for children and young people and worked on very diverse themes, all of which they tackled with poetic imagination, a gift for word-play and wonderful pictures. Their stories teach humanistic values – tolerance, solidarity and freedom – without lecturing or finger-wagging, and are sometimes also critical of authority. In them, Lobe and Weigel always sided with the children, with those who are weaker or marginalized. Their books won several awards and have been translated into many languages. They are still widely popular in countries across the globe and continue to inspire generations of children and grown-ups who enjoy them to this day.