AMBER BROWN IS TICKLED PINK

Fully faithful to the voice Danziger gave Amber Brown, this visit with an old friend will totally satisfy readers.

Amber Brown fans will rejoice; against all odds, their favorite protagonist is back.

After Paula Danziger passed away in 2004, it looked like readers would never find out how things would work out for Amber as her mother faced remarriage and a move to a new house. Through the efforts of two of Danziger's author friends, Amber has returned, with her funny, often slightly ironic, first-person voice that perfectly captures the tribulations and triumphs of the middle-grade years. Assigned to create a personal budget for a million dollars, she sets aside $25,000 to provide for "anti-nose-picking therapy for Fredrich Allen," a classmate. He becomes less easy to mock when she gets to know him better, since it turns out her mother and fiancé Max are going to get married at the Allens' summer camp to save money, a plan Amber dreamed up. What's harder for Amber is trying to find comfortable middle ground between her father and her mother's wedding plans. She's trying not to take sides but sometimes finds herself caught between them, even in their mostly amicable split, a problem she good-naturedly deals with, setting a fine example for kids in the same position. Simple, often humorous illustrations completely capture the gentle spirit of the tale.

Fully faithful to the voice Danziger gave Amber Brown, this visit with an old friend will totally satisfy readers. (afterword by Danziger's niece, "the real Amber Brown") (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25656-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

ZARA'S RULES FOR RECORD-BREAKING FUN

From the Zara's Rules series , Vol. 1

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel.

A 10 ¾-year-old girl weathers changes in her social circle—and her sense of self.

Dubbed “Queen of the Neighborhood” by beloved neighbor Mr. Chapman, who has sadly left Maryland for balmy Florida, Zara is apprehensive when a family with two kids moves into his house, potentially upsetting the delicate social balance. Readers familiar with Khan’s Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream books, set a few years after this series opener, will recognize the bustling Pakistani American Muslim household. Assertive, organized Zara and rambunctious 7-year-old Zayd live with their Mama and Baba; the siblings’ grandparents and uncle are integral parts of their daily lives. Zara and Zayd enjoy playing outside with their friends—Black sisters Jade and Gloria, White Alan, and Chinese American Melvin. Mr. Chapman always said that Zara knew how to “rule with grace and fairness,” but new arrivals Naomi and Michael, Jewish kids who are eager to engage socially, put this to the test. When Jamal Mamoo, Mama’s brother, brings over his Guinness World Records book, Zara decides that becoming a world-record holder is the boost her social status needs. Her humorous (and futile) attempts to make her mark ultimately lead her to being a more patient and understanding big sister and more flexible and supportive companion to friends old and new. Strong pacing, fluid prose, engaging hijinks, and heartwarming scenes of family life and outdoor play are complemented by expressive illustrations.

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9759-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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