Books by Sharon Franco

Released: Nov. 1, 2003

Employing simple declarative sentences and a distinctly child's-eye view, Byrd creates a full and subtle treatment of the interactions of a mentally disabled woman and the neighbors and family members who surround her. Narrator Hannah is still at an age at which she enjoys playing and visiting with Isabel, an adult who's as light-hearted and free as a child, though Hannah's readers can see—in the reactions of her slightly older friend Erica—how Hannah herself will probably begin to withdraw from Isabel as a playmate before long. Thus Byrd's tale evokes not simply Isabel's circumscribed but happy life, but also the life stages of "ordinary" children as they grow through differing attitudes toward the disabled. The illustrations are a fascinating combination of the vivid portraiture of Castro L. laid upon the cheery, Sunday-comics-style backgrounds of his son Castro H. Longer than most picture books, this is designed to be read to young children, and afterward discussed with them by informed adults. (The Spanish text sits neatly beside the English on the same page.) Cast as narrative, it is actually a work of sociology based on the lives of Byrd's family and neighbors. An excellent introduction to the value of some of our society's least appreciated citizens. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >