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Beautiful

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Every girl is unique, talented, and lovable. . . .Every girl is BEAUTIFUL.

Much more than how one looks on the outside, true beauty is found in conquering challenges, showing kindness, and spreading contagious laughter. Beautiful girls are empowered and smart and strong!

BEAUTIFUL breaks barriers by showing girls free to be themselves: splashing in mud, conducting science experiments, and reading books under a flashlight with friends. This book will encourage all girls to embrace who they are and realize their endless potential.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published September 13, 2016

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About the author

Stacy McAnulty

41 books448 followers
Stacy McAnulty is a children’s book author, who used to be a mechanical engineer, who’s also qualified to be a paleontologist (NOT REALLY), a correspondent for The Daily Show (why not), and a Green Bay Packer coach (totally!). She is the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Recipient for Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Her other picture books include Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, illustrated by David Litchfield; Brave and Beautiful, both illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite, illustrated by Edward Hemingway; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. She’s also authored the chapter book series Goldie Blox, based on the award-winning toys, and The Dino Files. Her debut middle grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, will publish in 2018. When not writing, Stacy likes to listen to NPR, bake triple-chocolate cupcakes, and eat triple-chocolate cupcakes. Originally from upstate NY, she now lives in Kernersville, NC with her 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 husband.

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5 stars
441 (53%)
4 stars
267 (32%)
3 stars
92 (11%)
2 stars
18 (2%)
1 star
7 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 188 reviews
Profile Image for Danielle.
Author 2 books222 followers
August 24, 2016
Love how the text sounds like a how to for being a girl concerned with beauty and gender conformity while the illustrations interpret the text in a contrasting, nonconformist way. Lighting up every room means using lamps/flashlights while reading in tents. Smart style means observing, experimenting, and fixing—girls using their smarts. A sweet smile? One laced with an orange just opened with a friend.

This book shows diverse girls including kids in wheelchairs.

Beautiful indeed!
Profile Image for Hannah.
Author 6 books203 followers
Read
September 21, 2016
I'm going to call books like this "surface subversion," I think. I'm also going to put this on my shortlist for go-to birthday gifts and the like, and I'm also going to request that this illustrator do a lot more stuff pronto, especially early chapter books.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,242 reviews3,562 followers
March 3, 2019
This book is so cute! However, it's one that definitely needs to be looked at. It wouldn't work as an audiobook at all, since you need to be able to see the pictures and how they subvert the dated-sounding text. Let me explain.

The book lays out a number of assertions, which could be considered stereotypical or even offensive when taken alone:

Beautiful girls move gracefully.
And light up every room.
Beautiful girls know all about makeup.
And have a smart style.


And on it goes. But each one of those stereotypes is immediately smashed. We see a larger-than-average girl playing football and two girls playing wheelchair basketball (moving gracefully). We see girls in tents reading under the stars with their flashlights (lighting up every room). We see girls playing pirates with drawn-on mustaches and tattoos (knowing all about makeup). And we see girls engaged in scientific pursuits (having a smart style). I love how each stereotypical statement is illustrated in an unexpected way, taking each of those statements that might've been used to diminish girls and instead using them to build girls up.

This book shows that being beautiful doesn't need to be restricted to a narrow idea of beauty. There are lots of ways to be beautiful, and this book explores them in a fun way. The illustrations are joyful and amusing, and as I read through the book the first time, I couldn't wait to see how each one would turn the text on its head.

Highly recommended for girls of all ages. This is a book that I wish had been around when I was a little kid!

Quotable moment:

Profile Image for Heidi.
2,615 reviews52 followers
September 6, 2016
This picture book is beautiful in its depiction of girls. While not really a story, there is much here that is well worth sharing and discussing with both boys and girls. The text talks about the things that make all girls beautiful. The illustrations take it a step further by showing girls doing things they love that stereotypes would say don't match the text, such as playing pirates (knowing how to use makeup) or swinging enthusiastically on their tummies while singing like songbirds. The illustrations are full of girls who are smiling and enjoying their various activities in ways that debunk stereotypes, such as a girl building an electronic car, playing in a pond, and skateboarding. The wide-variety of different girls is also a great thing, girls of all colors and abilities (including girls in wheelchairs playing basketball). One of my favorite illustrations shows a girl in a princess crown, necklace, and crown, who when her back is shown is also carrying a sword. This is a book that I think should be shared with children of all kinds to show that beautiful is only as limited as we let it be. In my opinions this one is a must have for all sorts of collections, not just libraries.
Profile Image for J.D. Holman.
679 reviews8 followers
April 17, 2017
This book has layers, like an ogre, an onion, or a parfait. ;) You have girls of all different shapes, sizes, and colors doing all sorts of different things here. Then you have the prose, which one one level goes with the picture, and on another level kind of presents biting commentary about what society expects of girls. (Example: "Beautiful girls know about makeup." The picture has three girls with fake beards pretending to be pirates. They know how to paint their faces, yes - but not in a traditional manner.)

Is there a book like this for boys? I want them as a set, please.
687 reviews53 followers
September 13, 2016
Yes, BEAUTIFUL is really beautiful. This book is the perfect gift for every little girl worldwide and maybe some big girls too.
What a wonderful presentation of inclusion of all diversities, shapes, sizes and "non perfection".
A perfect example of how we should celebrate self whatever we look like and whom ever we may be.
Kudos to Stacy and Joanne.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
Author 1 book129 followers
November 15, 2017
Really excellently done depiction of a bunch of different ways to be beautiful, with curiosity and kindness and physical prowess and friendliness. These types of books can get preachy, but I think it successfully walks the line between condescending and sanctimonious (the failure states of "improving literature") and succeeds in just being explanatory. And well illustrated.
Profile Image for Shaye Miller.
1,236 reviews80 followers
June 1, 2020
This was a re-read, which I greatly enjoyed. Each page shares well-known stereotypes of young girls and flips them on their heads. There will be ZERO gender conformity for these outgoing kiddos! The girls are obviously very happy, curious, and, of course, beautiful!

For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!
Profile Image for Faith Tydings.
664 reviews7 followers
February 22, 2017
BEAUTIFUL! I absolutely love this book and I think it should be posted in every library and read to every little girl. As a children's librarian, I am going to make a display for this book right now :)
Profile Image for Victoria.
Author 1 book16 followers
May 12, 2017
Stacy McAnulty's splashes toxic gender stereotypes and societal expectation for girls on every page and then sends a wonderfully illustrated crew of "Beautiful" girls to take them and make them their own. This wonderful book shows girls just doing their thing, and what a beautiful thing that is. If you have a girl who is still young enough to have interest in picture books - get this book!
Profile Image for Lara Goldstein.
100 reviews18 followers
April 3, 2017
LOVE LOVE LOVE. Such a fun body-positive, pro-women book that avoids being preachy. Definitely a great read for young girls who might feel like they aren't beautiful because they aren't x, y, or z.
Profile Image for Nicole.
521 reviews20 followers
July 8, 2017
Great book to give to all the little girls in your family. Embraces what beauty is to each child and not to the worlds beauty standards.
Profile Image for Shandra.
776 reviews28 followers
March 9, 2017
Love the illustrations!! I still have a wee, small qualm with using "beautiful" over and over, but I do like that it totally subverts it to be all girls - tomboys, girls in wheelchairs, etc. It's as if the book took a 1940s "girls must... have the perfect look" style guide, and turns it on its ear. I especially like the pages that say "Beautiful girls know all about makeup." and has illustrations of girls dressed up as pirates with drawn on beards and mustaches, and the following pages that say "And have a smart style" and has illustrations of girls investigating various science pursuits. Awesome. Would be a fun storytime book, especially on a day like International Women's Day!
Profile Image for Nathan.
225 reviews7 followers
June 30, 2019
Good message. Neat illustrations. The baby girl seemed to like it.
Profile Image for Pam.
1,580 reviews
August 23, 2020
“You’re beautiful inside”...but kids are smart, they know the meaning of beautiful...Why aren’t boys described as beautiful?...Do you have to be beautiful?...
These were some of the thoughts that swirled in my head as I read this book.

While I understand the author’s objective, I can’t help think about how the word beautiful feels to those who aren’t. Why can’t we celebrate the curiosity, the bravery, the imagination of girls without using the word beautiful? Aren’t those things alone as important as beautiful?

Beauty is
Part the reality of one’s appearance
Part society’s definition which is generally female, blonde, thin and white
Part one’s ego
That leaves out a lot of kids and adults.

I heard the following comment recently, “...she is young and beautiful so of course she should...” Why is beauty valued above all? Why not capability, honesty, curiosity...?

While this book may expand the definition of beauty it still enforces the pressure on girls to be beautiful.
Profile Image for Lauren Bujorian.
52 reviews6 followers
September 13, 2016
I received this book in a goodreads giveaway. My receiving this book through the giveaway does not reflect my opinions of the book in any way shape or form.

This book arrived today, and I can't wait to share it with my boyfriend's daughters. Both love to read and definitely need this positive idea of beauty in their lives. The images and illustrations are beautifully done. Every shade of skin, hair color & style, and shape of a person is represented in this children's book.

Every young girl needs to be told she's beautiful, and that beauty isn't about outward appearance. I'm excited to raise daughters with this in mind and this book will be a helpful tool. You can never start out too young telling girls they are beautiful.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone with young girls in their home. Use it to teach a lesson of what true beauty is.
Profile Image for Niki Marion.
424 reviews2 followers
February 7, 2017
I tend to like Stacy McAnulty's picturebooks and the representation she includes (intentionally or not), and BEAUTIFUL is no exception. I enjoy the dissonance between word & image, and it's clear "beautiful" refers to a state of mind and internal qualities like curiosity, bravery, adventurousness, and creativity.

We see all skin colors and even some differently abled bodies--which is great in a picturebook with such broad appeal.

It's a bit too girl-power for me; I feel like we've reached a point where authors need to try a bit harder to be subversive with female empowerment to gain my unwavering support and recommendation, but BEAUTIFUL at least isn't doing too much wrong and helps to normalize a few different versions of girlhood.
Profile Image for Darshana Khiani.
Author 3 books100 followers
October 26, 2016
This book takes the sugary, sweet, stereotypical praises and compliments for little girls and turns it on its head in a superb way! This is a must have book for any young child. I think it’s important not only for girls to see who they can be, but also for boys to realize it too.

I love the interplay between text and art. I love the energy, enthusiasm, and contentment of the girls enjoying the activities they are partaking in. This is where their beauty shines.

The large type and big illustrations make it perfect for a group read-aloud. Use the book as a conversation starter on breaking gender roles and asking what is beautiful.
Profile Image for Margaret Boling.
2,184 reviews36 followers
November 8, 2018
11/4/2018 ~ All the great ways girls can be beautiful, especially if they like sports, mud, and other "non-traditional" activities. However, I didn't see any girls who like pink, tea parties, or dressing up. They need to see themselves as beautiful too. (Even though I recognize the lack of sports & mud in many books aimed at girls.

Also, can boys be beautiful? Do they have a place in this narrative?
Profile Image for Beth.
2,892 reviews194 followers
August 14, 2016
Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty is a picture book that reimagines what our society thinks beauty is. In this book, beauty is not an outward appearance but an inner projection of your spirit and joy. It is about what you contribute to the world, not just your mere physical presence. If you know any friends or family members with little girls, this would be a great book to add to their shelves.
899 reviews26 followers
October 24, 2019
I was excited about this one, but unfortunately it is too focused on physical attractiveness and only for one gender, for me to recommend it. I liked that it had diverse racial and dis/ability representation, but it could have been much better in other ways that are important, and it just...wasn’t.
Profile Image for Nicole Somlai.
17 reviews1 follower
March 16, 2018
Multicultural book entry 3:

Beautiful, by Stacy McAnulty, is a realistic fiction novel that is perfect for primary age students. Realistic fiction is a story using made-up characters that could happen in real life. This novel showed that all girls are beautiful.

Text-To-Self- Growing up, I had a lot of different friends. Some girls were tom boys, some girls like to pay in the dirt, we were all different. This book just reminded me of all of my friends when we were younger because we would play dress together, or play basketball.
Text-To-Text- This book reminded me of Ada, Twist, Scientist. In Ada, Twist, Scientist there was a young black female who was a scientist. It was showing the readers that girls can be anything they want, even though it isn't common to see girls as scientist in the media. Beautiful, is sharing that all girls are beautiful weather you like dress up, or science, or paying sports.
Text-To-World- THIS BOOK IS SO IMPORTANT. Girls in society have low self confidence. We grow up around images of stick thin, white models with blond hair. That is what we are "supposed" to look like and it really takes a toll on students images of themselves. I am not saying that boys do not go through this same thing, but I have seen more cases of low self esteem from girls because of the media. This book shows every type of girl there is. There are African Americans, white, American Indians, Latinx, Asian Pacifica, and people with disabilities. There is curly hair, straight hair, long, hair, short hair, red hair, and any other color you can think of. As a young female, you can find yourself in this book, and the book is telling you that you are beautiful. The book even takes on some stereotypes about females. There was apart that says that females are good at makeup, but showed a picture of the girls dressing up with pirate clothes and had drawn on mustaches. This book shows diversity, and this is a book I will have in my classroom.
56 reviews2 followers
March 20, 2018
"Beautiful" by Stacy McAnulty is a children's picture book that transforms common ideas of what young girls ought to be (i.e., dainty, cute, and fashionable) and transforms them into bold statements about what girls are. They are smart, unique, funny, loud, messy, adventurous, and full of love. Most importantly, they are beautiful. The words work with the books illustrations to create a vivid portrayal of girls having fun, and while doing so, being authentically, undeniably beautiful. The girls within this book are not meant to be delicate objects, they are dynamic and strong.

I believe that this book should be a staple in any home or classroom. Regardless of whether or not it is being read to girls or boys, it destroys traditional gender roles and teaches girls that they are allowed to be as unique and wild as they like. Within the classroom, this book could be accompanied with an assignment in which the students write down what special things make them beautiful. Students could also be given a list of compelling and positive words to choose from, after which they would create a flipbook describing why they embody that word.

I give this book five stars because it contains a message that is timeless and powerful, and as a young girl, I found myself tearing up by the end. If this book had such a profound effect on someone much older than the target audience, imagine the impact it could have on young people and their development of confidence.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 188 reviews

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