I AM Manifesto by SB Hilarion

Book Summary:

A book of 366 mantras or affirmations to raise and encourage the self-esteem and self-belief of children (plus adults), told through the eyes of young siblings Hao Finley Lee and Sabine Yi Lee. Written in the form of a journal and calendar, there is a mantra for each day of the month. For each mantra that Hao and Sabine want to focus on for their own personal growth, they share that with other fellow “philomaths” or knowledge-seekers through an illustration that describes for them that mantra. For them it’s to: SAY it. BELIEVE it. BECOME it. MANIFEST it.

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San Francisco Book Reviewed:

Young philomaths will enjoy learning about the meanings of fascinating words while also using meditation to grow self-esteem in SB Hilarion’s I AM Manifesto. Brother-sister duo Hao Finley Lee and Sabine Yi Lee encourage readers to adopt the daily habit of embracing an empowering word through verbal repetition. The pages of this book are filled with a well thought-out list of words that easily fit into this mantra: “I am ________ that I am.” Hao and Sabine recommend repeating this statement aloud, filling in the blank with the word of the day, as often as three times twice a day. I AM Manifesto offers a unique approach to motivating young people to achieve personal growth.

Hilarion has conveniently provided every month’s list of affirming adjectives in a calendar format. Each month has its own page of words with corresponding, albeit amateur, illustrations drawn by Hilarion. Readers should know that the calendars do not match any given year; instead, the days of the week have been omitted so that the book can be used yearly. Hilarion has even accounted for the rare leap year by including February 29 in her calendar.

For the more challenging words, which are marked with an asterisk on the calendar, Hilarion provides a brief definition in a helpful glossary at the end of her book. The glossary includes more than 120 words, and following each vocabulary word is a syllable breakdown for that word, though a phonetic description of the word would be much more useful.

The words given in I AM Manifesto are wide-ranging. Some focus on relating to others like “sympathetic,” “considerate,” “amiable,” and “communicative.” Other words help generate a sense of personal responsibility, like “accountable,” “prepared,” “organized,” and “punctual.” Still others convey inner strength (“resilient,” “impassioned,” “tenacious”), individual value (“worthy,” “competent,” “loved”), and unique personality (“witty,” “observant,” “imaginative”).

Hilarion has written a thoughtful, user-friendly reference book with positive messages that would make a great gift for any curious child. Everyone who takes on the I AM Manifesto challenge will certainly experience a significant rise in self-awareness. For fans of I AM Manifesto, be sure to also check out Hilarion’s companion book, titled Humongous (& Cool) Words for Kids.

Reviewed By: Mandy Nevius

Author Bio:

SB Hilarion is the author and main illustrator of the narrative nonfiction children’s books in the Raising Young Scholars Series. The author of Humongous (& Cool) Words for Kids, Hilarion holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Columbia University, and a law degree from Harvard University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and children, plus some deer who refuse to pay rent.