Monday, February 18, 2019

The Powerful You - ¡Tú El Poderoso!

Over the last year or so, I've been watching with a mixture of awe, surprise, and immense respect as young people - especially teenagers - across the country have discovered their voices and started to use them on a national stage. They are realizing that they have power in numbers and that their thoughts and opinions matter. They are becoming activists and changemakers demanding social reform.

I'm amazed because I think most children and young adults have trouble finding their own voice. The tween and teen years are such difficult ones, especially for young girls who really struggle with self-confidence and doubt. My own daughter entered high school this year. I watched her go from a self-confident, outspoken person to one who filled with self-doubt and a wavering self-image. It was a shock for me as a parent, who wanted to nurture her independent and self-assured personality.

That's why when I was asked to share the book, The Powerful You/¡Tú El Poderoso! (aff link), I immediately said, "Send me the book so that I can take a look." And I'm so glad I did.

I can't tell you how reading this book for the first time affected me. It truly does say exactly what I want all of my children to know. It is beautiful and empowering and expresses what I think most parents want to teach their children, even if they don't realize it consciously.

This book is plain and straightforward. It took me just a few minutes to read but affected me profoundly. The pages contain simple, yet powerful messages, such as:

  • I can give you life, but I can't live it for you.
  • I can teach you the difference between good and bad, but I can't make the decision for you.
  • I can teach you about charity, but I can't make you be generous.
  • I can give you liberty, but I can't help you to protect it.
You can't help but put down this book with a totally new perspective. It is loving and inspirational all at once teaching the reader that parents can provide us with all the tools they possess to help us through life, but ultimately, our life's path is determined by our own choices and whether or not we are wise enough to learn and use the tools our parents give us.

Communication between parents and teens is frequently difficult and (in some cases) very limited. Sometimes the relationship has become too strained. And some parents cannot put into words what they wish to convey to their children. This book is a wonderful tool to facilitate these conversations. I think it would be a beautiful birthday book for every teen or tween.

I love it so much, I've decided to buy two more copies so that each of my children can have their own copy when they are old enough to receive the important message of empowerment and taking responsibility for your own actions. 

And the added bonus that just puts this book over the top is that it is completely bilingual with full text in both English AND Spanish! 

I wish I could put a copy of this book in the hands of children everywhere. I wish it were required reading in school.  

The book was written and illustrated by a father-son team. I was reading about them and it made me even more determined to share this with MommyMaestra readers.

The author, Patrick Atkinson, is also a human rights activist. According to his website, he began his career by working with "war zone reconciliation and post-war reconstruction in several nations in Central America during the 1980s." Shortly thereafter, he dedicated himself to working on human trafficking issues in Southeast Asia, and then came back to Central America to establish several charities, including: 
  • the ‘Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons’(ITEMP), one of the United States’ first contemporary anti-human trafficking groups.
  • and The GOD’S CHILD Project, which is a nonpolitical international humanitarian organization that develops and administers health, education, family foster care, community development, and human rights protection systems in the world’s poorest nations. 

He has been knighted by the Spanish Legion(!) and has received numerous international awards in recognition of his dedication to human rights. And he's even the subject of the book: The Dream Maker by Monica Hannan. You can read more about his incredible life here.

Patrick's son, Ernesto "Neto" Atkinson, is the illustrator of this book. The illustrations are beautiful and complement the message very well. I was pleased to also see a bit of Hispanic culture reflected in at least one of the illustrations when I recognized a resplendent quetzal (found in Guatemala and several other Central American countries) flying across a page. Neto has a Masters in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He's been described as an "artist who truly sees art as an active agent of change." I can see that he has learned the essential lessons his father describes in this book and has applied them to his own life to make a difference in the lives of others.

If you would like to purchase this book for your young adult, you can find it below on Amazon:


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