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Book Review: Not Fat Because I Wanna Be by LaToya “Tayiah Marquis” White

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LaToya White’s Not Fat Because I Wanna Be is like no other children’s story. It’s based on a true story from the perspective of a six-year old girl named LaNiyah Bailey. Her mother LaToya White wrote her story for the world because she knew that it had to be told. Many kids struggle at school because of bullying and feeling different. But to think that kindergartener would suffer with that kind of problem is very sad indeed.

Most of us look different. But kids are very mean to those who appear to be different. Jessica in the story is overweight. Because of this, she is called names and is taunted by other mean kids. She struggles for a long time. She knows in her heart that it doesn’t have to be this way. Kids who are different don’t deserve to be bullied like this. LaNiyah’s underlying message is that we should look at a person’s heart and intentions instead of their outward appearance. If another kid’s heart is pure and their intentions aren’t mean, this person could be our friend regardless of how they look on the outside.

This story will make the reader swell with pride. I found myself feeling very sad for LaNiyah at the beginning. But then when I looked at her underlying message of the book and the courage that it must have taken for LaNiyah to want to share her story, I felt so proud of her. This story needs to be told, and we all need to heed the message in it.

Not Fat Because I Wanna Be is especially relevant during our current cultural times. It isn’t easy to be a kid today, and it especially isn’t easy if the child strays from the cultural standard of what is considered to be normal. We need to be more open-minded and to know in our hearts that we are all loveable, and can be loveable, regardless of how we look on the outside.

Thank you LaNiyah for writing about such an important topic!

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  • Hi there Virginia,

    I’m sorry that your son went through the same thing. This book is a gem though in helping kids to come to terms with their condition and problems. This is going to be one of those books that I will be carrying with me constantly when I do all my school visits.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.


  • This is such a great book. My son went through this very same thing when he was younger and has the same medical problem as LaNiyah. He’s outgrowing it now, but it was hard when he was younger. I love that our youth is speaking out and sharing their stories.