Title: Nina Bonita
Author: Ana Maria Machado
Illustrator: Rosana Faria
Grade Level(s): Preschool-Grade 3
Ages: 4 and Up
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SJE: Element 1 Self-love and Knowledge
Nina Bonita tells the story of Nina and her neighbor the white rabbit, who desires to know the secret of Nina's black skin. To the rabbit, Nina's skin is beautiful and he is determine to have children that have Nina's black color. Throughout the story, the rabbit asks Nina "What makes your skin so dark and so pretty? Nina does not know the answer. As a result she tells the rabbit stories, each one stating an act that resulted in her black skin. He believes her and completes each act. It does not turn his fur black. After three attempts, the rabbit gets the answer to his question from Nina's mother, who tells him that Nina gets her skin color from her grandmother. In the end, the rabbit realizes he would need to marry the right rabbit to have children as beautifully black as Nina. He does just that and has children as of every shade between black and white.
How this book represents SJE 1
The message of this book promotes the quote "Black is Beautiful". This is why I chose it to represent element 1. It not only promotes loving the color of your skin, but it represents black as something beautiful. Most often in our classrooms, children of darker complexions are ridiculed. There are not enough examples that show dark skin as beautiful. This book is charming and it can be used as a self-esteem booster to a child who is struggling with accepting their skin color. It allows students who are darker to see their skin as something to be praised. Their skin color has worth and is beautiful.
How would I use this book in my classroom
Overall, I loved this story and cannot wait to have it my classroom. The message of this book is one that is not told to children who have darker skin tone often enough. The boost in self-worth that can come from this book is not only important, but is essential. Furthermore, the simply act of seeing a character of their complexion being referred to as beautiful, can help a student realize that what his or her skin is not a source of contempt, but a source of admiration.