Cassandra's Angel - Gina Otto
“All of the people who tell stories to you, they each have the truth deep inside of them, too. They have just forgotten it over the years, so now what you hear is their sadness and fears. It isn’t their fault, all those stories they tell. They believed the stories they were given as well. Those old kinds of stories create guilt and fear, but today, Cassandra, those old stories stop here.” –From the book

Each one of us lives a personal mythology that is created from the stories we have been told as children. These “stories” are the beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, and labels that were bestowed upon us by parents, teachers, and peers. Eventually replacing “you” with “I”, we began to believe what others told us about our looks, intelligence, and behavior. Unfortunately, negative and demeaning stories impacted our life and delivered crushing blows to our fragile sense of self—whether we realized it or not.

Written by Gina Otto, Cassandra’s Angel is a powerful tale that shows how stories of shame, fear, rejection, and indifference affect a little girl named Cassandra. Through an encounter with an angel that has accompanied her since before birth, Cassandra realizes that she doesn’t have to accept the stories she has been told by her scolding mother, uptight teacher, rejecting peers, or the dismissive mayor. Rather, she could choose to believe that she was a bright light in the world—and that no one could change that story! The angel tells her:

“All of those things people have said to you, they are stories, Cassandra—not one of them true. You are never just what they believe you to be. You are even more than you think that you see.”

Cassandra’s Angel is a compelling book that encourages personal empowerment, self esteem, and the honoring of children. Coupled with the wisdom of author Gina Otto, the vibrant, whimsical, color-saturated images painted by artist Trudy Joost expresses a wide range of emotional experience—including the power of realizing that we can always choose a different story to believe.

Note: This book was a finalist in the Coalition of Visionary Resources, Best Children’s Book 2002 and won first place in the Colorado Independent Publishers EVVY Award in the same year.

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