A Is for Amber Series

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
A Is for Amber Series Book Poster Image
Amber's adventures have great messages for young readers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Bits of science, math, grammar, and more tucked into the pages, all amid lessons about friendship and integrity and forgiveness, and at just the right level for early readers. 

Positive Messages

Amber and her friends learn to navigate their emotions in positive ways that readers can relate to, such as what it's like to be scared about the new school year, or how to deal with younger siblings in a positive way.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Amber's parents, teachers, other adults are kind and understanding, and want to talk Amber through her feelings and help her see other perspectives.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Paula Danziger's A Is for Amber series is about Amber Brown, a girl in early elementary school. It's written for very young readers but offers complexity in each 40-page story, the first of which is What a Trip, Amber Brown. The series is written in clear, concise language, with new vocabulary sprinkled amid familiar words and feelings. The stories about young Amber and her friends cover relatable topics -- fights with friends, problems at school, and being mad at siblings -- and Amber's parents and teachers help her with unending positivity. This is fabulous for emerging readers, and the books and topics are simpler than those in the related Amber Brown series for early readers, which starts when Amber is in third grade and follows her into middle school. 

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What's the story?

This first Amber Brown series, A IS FOR AMBER, helps young Amber navigate all kinds of situations that readers easily relate to. Amber is nervous about starting second grade, picks fights on a family vacation, has to figure out how to deal with a friend who has habits that annoy her, and encounters lots of other situations that come up in early elementary school. Amber's parents and friends are an integral part of every story.

Is it any good?

These books are fantastic for emerging readers, or for those who want to practice their skills while learning a bit more science and vocabulary than in typical chapter books for this age range. The Amber Brown series A Is for Amber is a fun -- occasionally deep -- take on life and friendship in early elementary school. In one of the books, Amber's parents have an argument, and Amber's worries are entirely relatable to children who have been upset by their own parents' arguments. On the positive side, there are birthday parties and lighthearted family trips and lots to laugh about, and each book ends with a lovely version of Amber telling herself that everything is going to be OK. It's a great message to kids about the complexity of life, told in ways that make sense to readers young and old.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Amber Brown reacts when she feels worried or mad. How do you react when you are upset with your friends?

  • Justin is Amber's best friend, and they're very different kinds of people. Who is your best friend? Are you two similar, or different?

  • What's fun about reading books about kids your age? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love early reader series and strong girls

Themes & Topics

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