3 out of 4 stars
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A Class Divided: by Summer Bishop (Little Sami), Michelle Ranjo Bishop, and Patrick Bishop is a story written with young school-age kids in mind. As the title suggests, it deals with the concept of division within a classroom concerning racial discrimination and differences. The main characters, Summer Squirrel and Rachel Rabbit are close friends. When a new student arrives, other students notice differences. Can the class learn that it's ok to be different? Will their teacher, Miss Owl, find a way to teach them what they need to know? You'll have to read this book to find out! Note, I used a colon after the book title because it is written in the book's description, although it doesn't use one on the cover.
The cover of this book is designed to appeal to kids. The colors are nice and bright, and the cast of characters adds interest to the picture. The schoolhouse and playground in the background set the scene for the book.
What I liked most was the way the character names used a descriptive and identifying term, such as Freddie Fox and Louis Lion. This writing style adds a nursery rhyme feel to the children's story that makes it perfect for bedtime reading.
The character development was done well in this story. The interactions between the students and their teacher, Miss Owl, guide kids through the feelings and learning experiences presented as the plotline is revealed. As lessons are learned, it is easy to see how characters change their viewpoints and gain new insights.
I thought it was important that this work focused on how actions affect people's feelings. These lessons are significant to the overall message of the book. The three authors of this book put a lot of thought into how it was written. It was sweet how close the friends in the story were. They didn't even see differences because they were friends. It is clear that the characters in the story are driven by empathy and caring.
I enjoyed the illustrations of the classroom and the characters in this work. I did notice that some of the images were almost identical, with just slight differences between them on each page. They are bright and expressive with plenty of color and detail. There were aspects that indicated that some of them were done digitally and could have used a little extra adjustment. What I disliked most about the book is the illustration on page 25 where Abby Alligator seems to be floating or falling through the picture. This detail bothered me because all other aspects of the book are so great.
This book focused on moral lessons that kids need to learn. Some people would say it is a child's parent's place to teach morals and codes, so some readers may feel that this book oversteps in that way by presenting moral-belief lessons from a classroom environment. Those readers would be the only ones to whom it might not appeal. That said, I found nothing to dislike about this book. Its message is well-presented, although I found a few punctuation and spelling errors that could be fixed with another round of proofreading. For these reasons, I rate this book with 3 out of 4 stars. It could gain the full rating after the errors were corrected. I recommend it to kids of school-age who like stories with a lesson. It may also appeal to teachers who wish to use it in a classroom.
A Class Divided:
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