Parents' Guide to

Happy Birthday, Jamela!

By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Imagination turns disappointment to birthday joy.

Happy Birthday, Jamela! Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids will enjoy reading about Jamela, an imaginative, independent girl who, when threatened with disappointment, takes matters into her own hands. She makes her clunky black shoes sparkle and glitter -- as a pair of party shoes should! The message may be a little confusing, even to adult readers -- was Jamela right to decorate her school shoes? But kids will be instantly drawn to the happy, creative protagonist, whose love of life shines through all she touches. Just don't be surprised if they all want to decorate their shoes after reading her story.

The watercolor illustrations are happy and festive though pastel in tone. Faces are sensitively painted, which adds to the personality of the story. Though the story is universal, the chicken in the house, the tropical fruit vendor on the neighborhood street, and the inclusion of phrases from the South African Xhosa language gives us a clearer sense of Jamela's world.

Book Details

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