I’m excited to announce that my book, “Crow From the Shadow,” won the 2023 Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal award in the Children – Picture Book genre!
The Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities.
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I’m honored to have received this award! Here are a few professional reviews Crow From the Shadow has received.
Crow From the Shadow Professional Reviews
A crow learns to reject destructive self-criticism in this debut picture book from a pair of siblings.
Crow, who frequently wears a hoodie to obscure his features, is connected to “The Shadow”—which could be a person, place, or thing. Crow explains: “The Shadow tells me who to be, how to go, and where to stay” and keeps the bird from doing the things he loves. Crow wears black because The Shadow says blue, the bird’s favorite color, isn’t appropriate. Crow could succeed in school, but The Shadow requires failure. While Crow loves books, The Shadow says reading is boring.
Over and over, The Shadow sucks happiness out of Crow’s life—until the bird eventually asks, “Why should I listen to The Shadow?” Finally, Crow is free, enjoys success, and even finds a spouse. While getting out from under a depressive Shadow is not as simple as author Olaolu Ogunyemi makes it sound, the idea of rejecting the lies of self-criticism is an important one.
Illustrator Joshua Ogunyemi delivers a cartoon depiction of each concept. Crow’s possible happiness is portrayed in bright colors, with the bird wearing blue. In the images where The Shadow holds sway, Crow wears black and is surrounded by dimmer hues. But the marriage plot point seems to come out of nowhere, and more time spent on Crow’s triumphs would have better balanced The Shadow’s dominance in the book’s first half. Still, the enjoyable story’s inspiring message comes through clearly.
An engaging and encouraging tale about countering negativity.
Emma Megan for Readers’ Favorite
Crow From the Shadow by Olaolu Ogunyemi is a must-read picture book for every child. It contains valuable and inspiring life lessons and will empower children to believe in themselves, identify, and overcome their negative thoughts. It tells the story of Crow, a bright bird whose life is controlled by The Shadow. Crow doesn’t like that The Shadow tells him who to be and what to do, but he can’t do anything about it. Every time Crow wants to do something, The Shadow stops him. Unfortunately, Crow doesn’t dare to stand up to him, so he keeps dreaming of the life he could have. Will Crow stop listening to The Shadow and regain control over his fate?
I adored this well-illustrated story with an important and influential message. I firmly believe that many children will resonate with Crow’s struggles. What children tell themselves impacts their self-confidence. Their inner voice matters as it’s one of the most significant influences that shape their journeys.
Crow From the Shadow by Olaolu Ogunyemi introduces children to their negative thinking and inner critic. It encourages them to overcome self-doubt, become all they can be, and determine their future. It’s a perfect addition to every home and school. It can help parents, teachers, and mentors to start conversations with children, at home and in the classroom, about self-doubt and how to deal with it. This easy-to-read story will make a huge difference in the hearts and minds of children who are afraid to follow their dreams.
Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers’ Favorite
Crow From the Shadow, written by Olaolu Ogunyemi and illustrated by Joshua Ogunyemi, is the first book in the Parent-Child-Connect (P2C) picture book series. The book begins by introducing the reader to Crow, a young narrator who says he’s from The Shadow, following this by stating that The Shadow could be anything. It controls every aspect of Crow’s life and sets restrictive parameters of what he can and cannot do.
Crow tells us what his own preference is with what he wears, how he performs at school, and the places he likes to visit. Each is pushed aside by The Shadow’s instruction that Crow feels obliged to follow. As the story progresses, Crow describes isolation and the destruction of motivation, dreams, and all other positives in his life. It is only when Crow comes out from under The Shadow that we see what life is like in the sunlight.
Here comes my favorite part of this review…
Woah! Crow From the Shadow is nothing at all like the other children’s books I’ve been reading for a while, and completely realigned my barometer on what a fantastic piece of kid-lit truly is. And what is it? It’s this and whatever else Olaolu Ogunyemi creates like this. The first thing that leaps out from the start is that this book is cool. Really cool. Not a word that can be associated with most children’s picture books but decidedly appropriate here.
The way Crow talks and the way he describes what is going down in his world is profoundly honest, and Crow looks like the kind of bird you want to be friends with. He’s in a hoodie. He speaks like he’s straight out of an indie film and sort of resembles Spy from the 80s comic strip, if Spy was cool. Joshua Ogunyemi is the artist who breathes life into Olaolu’s words, sticking to a dark palette initially but slowly moving toward color as Crow starts making decisions for himself. I love this book and would give it a whole bucket of stars if I could.