A notably perceptive chapter book that invites empathy and understanding through the words of its engaging young narrator.

READ REVIEW

Gerald's Journal

THE LIFE OF AN EVERYDAY HERO

A gentle, observant boy with special needs records his ups and downs at his new school in this lively, journal-style children’s book.

How does a kid fit in when he leaves his special education school behind to attend a general education school? That’s the dilemma faced by a boy named Gerald, who writes down his feelings and observations as he makes his way through his first uncertain, friendless days: “When I am writing, I can take my time and say things just right,” he says. He experiences loneliness, and for a time, a bully calls him “dummy” and “retard” and plays mean tricks on him. But readers shouldn’t expect pathos (or bathos) here. McElhinny (Storm, 2002) has created a thoughtful, funny character who’s rooted in the love and support of his family and is naturally considerate of others. He does his best to make sense of his new circumstances even though he misses his old school, where “Everybody always wanted to play with me.” McElhinny doesn’t specify what exactly makes Gerald “different,” but the text reveals that he’s pulled out of class for speech therapy, reading, and gym time with other special needs kids. (He also loves pizza, movies, Frisbee, superheroes, playing the saxophone, and fishing with his grandpa.) In the end, due to his own good nature and a few fortuitous occurrences, he wins friends who appreciate him for who he is. The author gives Gerald a genuine-feeling narrative voice, which is further enhanced by the book’s black-and-white journal design that features kidlike printing with misspelled, crossed-out words, as well as stick figure drawings, on ruled paper. A deep understanding clearly informs this story, and this is underscored by McElhinny’s dedication of the book to his own son, who he says “makes this world a better place just by being himself.”

A notably perceptive chapter book that invites empathy and understanding through the words of its engaging young narrator.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944613-00-6

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Armonia Publishing Co.

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

THERE'S A MONSTER IN YOUR BOOK

From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...

WAITING FOR THE BIBLIOBURRO

Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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