Marie Louise Fitzpatrick » Award-Winning Irish Writer and Illustrator

I Am I


‘I am I, King of everything!’
‘I am I, King of all I see!’

An argument between two small boys, one with blue hair, one with red, ends up having unforeseen consequences in this deceptively simple book. A story about the power of the imagination and the power of words.




‘An artistically accomplished book, this is a departure for Fitzpatrick in terms of theme, but is as effective as her traditional picture books in composition and point of view. She uses very few words and communicates powerfully with pictures, portraying a vast landscape and the ancient elements of earth, air, fire, and water.’ School Library Journal, starred Review.

‘…Fitzpatrick has created a sophisticated work offering multiple perspectives and opportunity for discussion. The spare text of declarative short sentences, handwritten in a variety of styles in black ink, expresses the boys’ thoughts distinctly. Yet, it is the exquisite full-page vividly colored paintings portraying themes of tolerance and acceptance, the futility of violence and the symbolic renewal of life through sprouting red poppies that are integral in this parable. Its salience and poignancy will be appreciated on many levels.’ Kirkus Reviews

‘In this clever tale, Fitzpatrick’s two protagonists put to the test the childhood mantra of sticks and stones… A closing modern-day scene of the two children separated by their play space indicates the timelessness of the story’s message: that humans must aspire to cross the universal divide in order to appreciate one another’s differences.’ Publishers Weekly

‘I AM I is an allegorical picture book that suggests humans have the power to make terrible mistakes, but also to learn from those mistakes and to heal…This is a book to examine closely and ponder.’ Language Arts, ‘No Child Left Behind: Literature that Captures What Standardized Tests Can’t Measure’

‘This picturebook is rich in emotional resonance and Fitzpatrick’s style of illustration is indicative of the mature talent of her work. Displaying a more painterly style with deeper tones and textures than in some of her earlier books, her illustrations are simply breathtaking. The relationship between words and pictures is fascinating, as words, redolent of barbed wire scratched onto the page, become powerful reminders of the boys’ aggression. Fitzpatrick thus cleverly weaves into her book a message of the sheer power of words to harm and yet ultimately to heal.’ Áine Nic Gabhann, Inis Magazine


Publisher: Roaring Brook Press USA, 2006
Co-editions: Korea