Friday, October 23, 2015

Blog Tour: One Word from Sophia

Title: One Word from Sophia
Author: Jim Averbeck
Illustrator: Yasmeen Ismail
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Review copy: Final copy via publisher
Availability: On shelves now

Summary: Sophia tries varied techniques to get the giraffe she wants more than anything in this playfully illustrated story about the nuances of negotiation. Sophia has one true desire for her birthday. But she has Four Big Problems in the way: Mom, Dad, Uncle Conrad...and Grand-mama. Will her presentations, proposals, and pie charts convince them otherwise? Turns out, all it takes is one word. -- Summary and cover image via IndieBound

Review: This book oozes charm. Sophia attempts to persuade the adults in her life to procure a pet giraffe for her birthday. Of course this brilliant idea gets readers smiling. The illustrations are bright and airy. They are whimsical and quirky as is the vocabulary. The playful words like verbose, effusive, and loquacious inspire giggles. One of my favorite parts of the book is the glossary on the endpaper. Words, not just one, are celebrated throughout the entire book.

One Word from Sophia really plays with words and hints at the power of words. It also shows many ways that information can be shared in an effort to persuade. Obviously, this makes it an excellent book to share when teaching about persuasion, persuasive writing, revision, or about advertising/marketing. The book is also a great romp to simply be enjoyed.

I appreciated that Yasmeen Ismail's illustrations showed a family with several different skin tones. The text never made any indication of cultural or racial backgrounds, but the pictures mirror families that don't often see themselves in the pages of a book. In Dick and Jane books, the family members always matched. In the past few years I've noticed more and more diverse families in the pages of children's literature, but I'm always excited to see another. There are still not enough books that do this. (See "The Diversity Gap in Children's Publishing 2015" if you want to see stats.) My students need to see themselves and their families. They also need to see what other possibilities exist too.

One Word from Sophia will be a book that wins hearts and has many friends. If you haven't read it yet, I hope you get a chance to experience the fun soon.


View artwork (9 images) from the book featured on Yasmeen Ismail's page

Opportunity for free Skype visits with Jim Averbeck

Find a classroom study guide for teachers

Discover an initiative using One Word from Sophia to promote diverse books

SLJ Article about high school AP English classes using One Word from Sophia

Don't miss the rest of the tour:
10/19/2015 - Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
10/20/2015 - Jennifer Reed at Reederama
10/21/2015 - Franki and Mary Lee at Two Reading Teachers
10/22/2015 - Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers
10/24/2015 - Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy

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