Beyoncé: Shine Your Light

Image of Beyoncé: Shine Your Light
Release Date: 
June 3, 2019
HMH Books for Young Readers
Reviewed by: 

"She made mistakes. She learned. She grew. She paid the bills."

Beyoncé, a Creole surname, means "beyond others." This dazzling picture-book biography shows how Beyoncé became her name.

The cover's illustration of Beyoncé's dress is a glittering, raised mosaic of various colors. Slide your fingers over it, and feel her presence. Open the book and the first word you see on the flyleaf is "You." The authors speak to the reader, encouraging them to follow their dreams even if they make mistakes along the way. "When your dream feels impossible, remember this story. Be brave. Persist. Work. Grow . . . Shine forward."

This dazzling biography is a fine adaptation for young readers of this sensational singer. She was a shy, quiet child, "A push-an-empty-swing kind of quiet." But on stage she was confident and bold. Her dream was to share her gift of a beautiful voice with the whole world. She joined a girl group and they worked hard to achieve their goals. "They entered a contest. They lost. They learned. They worked harder."

Eventually, Beyoncé became a household name, shining her light on all her audiences. She began to make her own decisions. "She made mistakes. She learned. She grew. She paid the bills." On stage she was jubilant, regal, and goofy, i.e., she could be herself. Her audiences loved not only her fierce voice but also her glittering costumes.

Her personality matched her onstage one. She encouraged new artists and fought for justice for her people. "Now Beyoncé finds quiet. A drown-out-the-noise, get-to-know-herself kind of quiet."

The whimsical, colored illustrations on every page keep the reader engaged. But aside from the singer's life, the authors' words contain an inspirational message to follow one's dreams and to jump those hurdles along the way. Beyoncé did it. So can you.