Book Review: Charlie’s Tales, Cassia and the Fire Dragons
A beautifully illustrated book with a positive body image message for our young girls
As a mother to a beautiful two-and-a-half-year-old girl, I am always on the lookout for books that share positive and inspiring messages.
If you've been following my blog you would know that I am all about empowering young girls and allowing them to follow their own interests and passions without any limits of gender. My daughter often picks truck pajamas to wear, spiderman socks and would prefer to play with slime and cars instead of princesses or baby dolls. But she does love her dresses!
When our young girls grow they look to popular culture, tv shows and books to find role models. Whilst I never restrict her exposure to popular culture, including princesses and mythical female creatures like fairies. I do want her to know that these characters are not realistic and I do my best to also expose her to strong and brave female characters. And as I’ve noticed since becoming a mother, finding books and tv shows with a strong female presence has been challenging!
Did you know that recent studies have shown that lead characters in children’s books are twice as likely to be male than female? And in 20% of the top 100 picture books, there was not one female character present!
This lack of strong female role models is linked to unhealthy body image in young girls. In addition to the under-representation of females, the over-representation of thin characters is also worrying as they are often associated with positive inner characteristics, unlike their larger counterparts.
Research has shown that this encourages weight-based stigma, which has been linked to unhealthy behaviours in young girls, with 38% of 4-year-old girls reporting to be dissatisfied with their body size. That statistic is incredibly concerning and I hope my daughter never ends up being part of this statistic! Like most parents, I want my daughter to love and accept herself for the beautiful, strong and brave person she is.
I do my part at home to try to instill a positive body image in front of my daughter. And the best way I know how to do this is to always show my daughter that I love myself and my own body. I don’t think I’ve ever talked negatively about myself, or my body in front of her. I believe that children learn through what they see from the role models around them, so I try my best to be the example. I also try to make sure she doesn't compare herself to other people because we are all unique and amazing in our own ways.
To also help combat this important issue, the not-for-profit organisation Pretty Foundation created this lovely book, Charlie’s Tales, Cassia and the Fire Dragons. It’s filled with beautiful illustrations and a deep and positive body image message for our young children. And the great thing is that all funds raised from the book proceeds go towards developing further body image initiatives. I love that!
This book’s protagonist is Charlie. With wild red hair and a strong body, Carlie counteracts the norms found in other children’s media. With lots of adventure, dragons, fire and ice, this book explores how our bodies may be similar in some ways and different in other ways but the main thing is that we are all special and talented.
I love that the book includes questions that parents can discuss with their children after reading the book. Now that’s something extremely useful that not many books offer!
I truly believe that exposing my girl to positive books like this will set her on the right path to self-love. I pray all girls receive exposure to positive messages like this, and the future is one where our young children don’t compare but celebrate their own uniqueness and talents.
This is a great book for a child aged 2 to 6 years old, regardless of gender, it shares an important message for all children. At an affordable price, this would be the perfect addition to a birthday or Christmas gift. There's even two other books to collect. To download educational resources, to donate to the cause or to order the books visit the Pretty Foundation website.
*I was kindly gifted with this book to review, however, views are my own. I only endorse products I genuinely believe in.