Easy to read and sprinkled with science, a contemporary tale of friendship, loss, acceptance, and learning how to be who you are and rock what you’ve got.
Jada Jones will remind caregivers of that time when the outdoors was fascinating. Who doesn’t remember collecting rocks as a kid? Even though Jada is in fourth grade, the language and tempo of the book are best suited to emergent readers new to chapter books. It’s an engaging tale about a little black girl whose best friend has moved away. When her mom advises Jada to try making new friends, Jada soon learns that two is company but three might be a crowd. Jada must maneuver through the minefield of new friends vs. old friends while working on a class project about rocks. She also struggles with jealousy from someone afraid Jada is trying to steal her best friend. Brantley-Newton’s illustrations of Jada, her African-American family, and her classmates, mostly children of color, are fun and inspiring, reminiscent of Sophie Blackall’s whimsical, wide-eyed depictions in the Ivy + Bean series. In fact, this first in the Jada Jones series feels very much like the perfect fit for fans of Ivy + Bean or Clementine, as Lyons sprinkles her latest character with warmth and a touch of sass. Sequel Class Act publishes simultaneously.
Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere. (Fiction. 6-8)