Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Review: Joey Gonzalez: Great American

Summary: In this breakthrough bilingual children’s book, Tony Robles shows that it is personal pride, self-reliance and a love of learning, not special preferences, that are the keys to becoming not just a good citizen but a great American, someone proud of both their individual heritage and that of our great nation.

Beautifully illustrated by Jim Pryor, and translated into both English and Spanish, Joey Gonzalez: Great American will be treasured by every parent confident that their child is capable of more than their teachers say they are, and by every kid who aspires to be great. - world ahead publishing

I was very excited to receive a children's picture book to review. Although I couldn't read the book to my 3 1/2 year old (it was too long and the subject matter too advanced), I did enjoy reading it with my 8 year old daughter (she would probably want you to know that she is an avid reader of chapter books now). The book JOEY GONZALEZ: GREAT AMERICAN, written by Tony Robles and illustrated by Jim Pryor, gives children the message that minorities don't need special preferences (i.e. affirmative action) to succeed. Children need to use their skills, like pride, self-reliance and a love of learning, to be successful -- just like their ancestors did when they came to the United States.

The author, who is Puerto Rican, grew up in a tough New York neighborhood. He served in the U.S. Navy and later worked in law enforcement with the U.S. Customs Service. The illustrator also grew up poor and served in the Marines before he discovered he had a talent for art. I think it's important to note that both of them truly believe the message in the book -- that anyone can become a great American if they use their strength, intelligence and courage.

After my daughter and I read the book, I asked her if she liked it. She responded that it was a pretty good book; however, I'm not sure that she really understood the terms "affirmative action and race card." When I asked her what she learned, she said "anyone can be an American, no matter where they are from, as long as they want to be one." If she walked away from this book understanding that concept, I definitely think that's a good thing.

1 comment:

Theresa Chaze said...

Joey, anyone who can write a book that will get children reading is aces. Good luck on your tour.