Riley Can Be Anything is the debut book from children’s author, Davina Hamilton. When I was asked to do this book review I was so excited! Being a mother of black boys I think it is so important they read books they can relate to. The front cover speaks volumes to me; a happy black boy celebrating with his hands in the air as though he’s achieved something. I love the title of the book as, straight away, it is empowering and uplifting and an affirmation in itself. I want my boys to grow up knowing they can be and do anything, and that nothing or no one will stop them. And I got all of this from just the front cover!
My son, Ahaziah, is 7 years old and was able to confidently read the book to himself and his brother. The book is written in rhyme, so has a great rhythm which I really liked and the boys enjoyed. Ahaziah said his favourite part of the book was when Riley’s cousin suggested he be a chef, as he likes to cook and eat, and he most related to the part when Riley was in school. He also really liked the part about flying in the sky! I asked him to rate the book out of 5, and he gave it 4 stars – but he said that’s only because he doesn’t like to go to the doctors. Interesting, considering he usually always wants to go to the doctors!
The illustrations in the book are beautiful and really helped Ahaziah with the story. The book also sparked a dialogue with Ahaziah, and he let me know he wanted to be a footballer when he grows up. I have never asked him about his career aspirations before, so this was a first and I appreciated how the book started that conversation.
Overall I found the book brilliant and inspiring. I have my boys participate in many activities and clubs because I think it’s important to expose them to a variety of opportunities so they can then pick what they like. I don’t want them to be restricted. Riley Can Be Anything teaches children that we don’t have to know what we want to be right now but we really can be anything!
I give the book 5 stars!
Riley Can Be Anything is available now on Amazon.
Words by Nahdia Blake.

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