Picture Book Snob
Bald is Beautiful: A Letter for a Fabulous Girl
by Carola Schmidt and Dian Ovieta
Written as a letter to girls of any age who will go, or already are, bald, this is a book about “love, beauty, happiness and friendship when going through various changes in our lives.”
Cancer is not directly discussed, nor does the book go into scientific explanations or details concerning various treatments. Although this addresses a sensitive and serious issue, its tone is light and upbeat. Being bald is celebrated, as is the beauty and strength of every girl battling a serious illness.
Sometimes books intended for a specific purpose can be heavy-handed and off-putting, especially when about such an important issue. The opposite is true for Bald Is Beautiful. This achieves a wonderful balance between optimism and realism, and is sweet without ever becoming syrupy.
The illustrations are gorgeous, with a soft and gentle quality. The text flows, feels sincere and doesn’t condescend nor gloss over the challenges ahead. It acknowledges that there will be tough days but offers positive perspectives and self-care suggestions to help a child navigate through them.
We are told not to mind “the bad days” because “they pass so quickly." We're reminded that "things change quickly" and told, "you’ll be surprised when you realise it. Someday you’ll see this book on a shelf. Maybe you’ll read it again and remember you were always as beautiful as you are now.”
The closing lines are especially moving: “Be strong! Be powerful! Be what you want to be. Do whatever you want to do. But never forget how beautiful and loved you are.”
There are no religious undertones, so it’s suitable for children of all faiths, as well as those from agnostic and atheist families. As cancer is never explicitly mentioned, it would be an appropriate book for a girl who may have lost, or be losing, their hair for other reasons.
Author Carola Schmidt is a paediatric oncology pharmacist who has written several acclaimed academic titles as well as children’s books. Chubby’s Tale, about a teddy bear who beats cancer, is mentioned on Book Authority’s list of Best Leukaemia Books of All Time.
Dian Ovieta is an illustrator and graphic designer from Indonesia who has worked for one of Jakarta’s largest children’s book publishers. You can see more of Ovieta’s work here.
Bald Is Beautiful does not have a lot of text and would be easy for a child undergoing treatment to read, or have read to them, without growing tired. Though it is brief, it carries a mighty message and helps reassure and empower girls who are embarking on a frightening and difficult journey. I hope it's not a book that becomes relevant to my family and friends, but I'm glad it exists should we ever need it.
Bald Is Beautiful: A Letter for a Fabulous Girl is sold exclusively through Amazon and can be purchased as a paperback and an ebook from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer is the world’s leading cause of death by disease for children. If you would like to donate to a childhood cancer charity in your country, here are some links for Ireland, the UK, America and Canada.
Title: Bald Is Beautiful: A Letter for a Fabulous Girl
Author: Carola Schmidt
Illustrator: Dian Ovieta
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 9781985021730 (paperback)
ASIN: B088GRZTKP (ebook)