The Story Behind Unë Jam (I Am)

Unë Jam is the first Albanian-English children's book I've ever written. It's a board book filled with "I Am" statements/positive affirmations and colorful illustrations written in both Albanian and English. At first glance, it seems simple and straightforward but the message being conveyed isn't as simple as it may seem. Through repetition, my hope is that the message being conveyed will somehow stick in a subconscious manner. 

As a child and even young adult, I was shy, insecure, doubtful of my abilities and of myself, scared and sometimes felt embarrassed for not quite fitting in. Living the traditional Albanian life at home but having a taste of the American life outside of the home can be confusing at times for a young child. I didn't gain confidence until I hit 30. I am now 40. Thirty years is a long time to feel small. I didn't want that for my daughter or any other child. 

My intention when writing Unë Jam was to help children build their confidence even if they don't understand what that quite means yet. However, if they are repeating these statements regularly and/or read to, perhaps they will start to believe that they are in fact smart, confident, strong, kind, beautiful etc. I included the "I Am Albanian" statement towards the end to remind them of their Albanian roots but wanted to end the book with something more powerful. The statement, "Most Importantly, I am Me" is to help them realize that despite all of those things, you are YOU, whoever that may be. The mirror in the back aims to reinforce that last statement and of course babies also love mirrors. :)

Even though this book is in Albanian-English, it applies to non-Albanian children as well. I am grateful for the few non-Albanian customers who have purchased Unë Jam and hope it ends up in many more non-Albanian homes. 

Building confidence in children is extremely important and impactful for their development. When children feel confident and secure, they are more likely to succeed in school and achieve personal goals. Having a healthy sense of self worth and positive self-image will help children feel happy and maintain healthy relationships which in turn will be beneficial in adulthood as well. 

Personally speaking, going from a shy kid from the Bronx to a confident woman, the freedom and fearlessness I feel now is priceless. It's the best gift you can give your child - the roadmap to self-esteem and confidence. You may not be able to build it for them, nor do you want to even if you could, but providing the tools and guidance in which they can build confidence within themselves is when you know you've done something right as a parent. 

When I hear that Unë Jam is a favorite of a child, it warms my heart and sometimes brings me to tears. Thank you so much for allowing me to have such a small part in your child's joy.

What's your favorite and/or your child's favorite Unë Jam statement? How has this book impacted your child 's life? Please share and leave a comment below.

Don't have a copy yet or you'd like to send a copy as a gift? Purchase your copy HERE

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