BOOKS

Book cover of Ink-Blot
Ink-Blot
By Maria Eugenia,Second Story Press, 2013.24 pages. $15.95
*****
Reviewed by Elena Bukshtinovich

Ink-blot, written and illustrated by Maria Eugenia, is an invaluable picture book that can be used as a platform to discuss and promote body acceptance and self-acceptance. This book informs our students that while self-critique may often be perpetuated by our sometimes beauty as a monolith society, their priorities should be learning, having fun and doing the things they enjoy. We are introduced to Ink-blot, a girl who “some people say … is badly drawn.” The focus then shifts, to “most girls” and how they often worry about their looks. The pages, filled with a combination of watercolour and ink drawing illustrations of diverse young females consider how“some girls” worry about their hair, their noses, their size, and their overall appearance. But not Ink-blot! Ink-blot doesn’t care about monolithic, oppressive societal norms. She is simply too busy having fun!

This book encourages our students to see that a young girl’s worth is not tantamount to her appearance and celebrates difference and diversity. Through Ink-blot, students are exposed to the notion that worrying about one’s looks is “a lot of stress!” and that self-critique should be challenged.

This mentor-text can be used to spark discussion about equity, justice, empowerment and gender stereotypes. Ink-blot can be employed to examine what the introduction of the Language Arts Curriculum document refers to as “critical literacy involv[ing] asking questions and challenging the status quo, and lead[ing] students to look at issues of power and justice in society.” (1)  Furthermore, Ink-blot can be used to enhance Healthy Living programs and begin dialogue focused on challenging societal norms about what is deemed beautiful, attractive and healthy.

Although brief, this book can be the spark to many in-depth critical conversations about issues of body image and the detrimental effects of homogenized standards of beauty.

Elena Bukshtinovich is a member of Simcoe County Teacher Local. 

MORE BOOKS

Book cover for Making a Global City
Robert C. Vipond. University of Toronto Press, 2017. 249 pages, $34.95
Book cover for Secret Path
Jeff Lemire, music by Gord Downie. Simon and Schuster Canada, 2016. 96 pages, $26.99
Book cover of Student Diversity, 3rd Edition
Faye Brownlie, Catherine Feniak and Leyton Schnellert. Pembroke Publishers, 2016. 160 pages, $24.95
Book cover for In a Cloud of Dust
Alma Fullerton, illustrated by Brian Deines. Pajama Press, 2016. 32 Pages, $19.95
book cover for The Four Roles of the Numerate Learner
Mary Fiore and Maria Luisa. Lebar Pembroke Publishers. 128 pages, $24.00
Cover of Brilliant! Shining a Light on Sustainable Energy
Michelle Mulder. Orca Book Publishers, 2013. 48 pages, $19.95
Cover of Fight to Learn
Laura Scandiffio. Toronto Annick Press, 2016. 176 pages, $16.95
Cover of Stop the Stress in Schools
Joey Mandel. Pembroke Publishers, 2014. 160 pages, $24.95

Pages