4 out of 4 stars
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Being a parent can be frightening. Not only are you financially responsible for a very fragile baby whose entire existence depends on you, that baby eventually grows up! It's amazing just how quickly that helpless child turns into a someone that's making their own decisions and becoming their own person. This is perfectly captured in Patrick Atkinson's The Powerful You: ¡Tú El Poderoso!.
The Powerful You: ¡Tú El Poderoso! is a very short yet powerful book. Readers are presented with numerous poignant "I can... but I can't..." messages from father to son, such as "I can teach you the difference between good and bad, but I can't make the decision for you." Each of these points is presented with a Spanish translation, and while I don't speak Spanish myself and therefore can't be sure they're error-free, Patrick spent 25 years in Central America. Considering that I didn't find a single grammatical error in the English writing, I'll assume the Spanish writing is flawless as well.
As I read this short 24-page book, I could really relate to what Patrick had written. One of the hardest things for a parent, teacher, or mentor to accept is that no matter how much they teach someone, their choices are still entirely up to them. A child can hear about how awful drugs are all day from parents and teachers, but if someone walks up to them and asks if they want some, the choice is entirely theirs. The same goes for various other aspects of life, many of which are mentioned in The Powerful You: ¡Tú El Poderoso!, such as drinking, choosing between right and wrong, and being generous.
"He has been knighted, is the recipient of numerous human rights awards (including the Guatemalan Congressional Medal) and is the subject of the biography, The Dream Maker, by Monica Hannan. Patrick is most proud of having been named Father of the Year by his son, Ernesto, this book's illustrator."
The other thing I really loved about The Powerful You: ¡Tú El Poderoso! was just how well the author's love for his child came across. The quote above, found in the "About the Author" section at the back of the book, is a truly touching way to show how a lifetime of remarkable achievements is beaten only by the love of one's child. Seriously, Patrick was KNIGHTED and yet still considers being named "Father of the Year" by his own son to be his proudest moment. I can't even imagine how wonderful this world would be if every parent felt that way about their children.
Finally, as the quote mentioned, The Powerful You: ¡Tú El Poderoso! is illustrated by the author's son, Ernesto Atkinson. Most of the pages in this book are fully illustrated, and Ernesto does a wonderful job with what look like hand-painted images. Some, like the open-palmed hand over the silhouette of a big city, look like if you reached out and touched the image, you'd feel the still-wet paint against the canvas. Just like the father and son duo themselves, the art and words work together perfectly.
The Powerful You: ¡Tú El Poderoso! is a flawless book that I'd recommend parents, teachers, mentors, and even older siblings give as gifts to teenagers and children as a reminder that, no matter how well a person is taught, "everybody decides for him or herself how they will live their life." In fact, this quote is the only instance of any gender usage at all, so the book works equally well for men or women. My rating of the book is 4 out of 4 stars, and I don't have a single negative thing to say about the book.
The Powerful You!
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