When I saw Mr. Schu mention Kelly Starling Lyons’ new book on Twitter, I knew it was a book we had to have in our house. Jada Jones: Rock Star is the first in a series about Jada, a fourth grader who knows a ton about rocks! I mean, just look at the cover, isn’t she just screaming “Children will love me, read me!”
Well, thanks to the generosity of the author, we were able to get an Advanced Readers Copy of the book, and my children and I read this short chapter book over a few nights as our bedtime read.
Jada is your average 4th grader, who starts the book a little upset because her best friend, her ace, her rock finding partner, has moved far away, and she’s trying to figure out how to navigate her way to finding new friends to hang out with.
Now one of the things I loved about Jada was that her passion was rocks. Not because I also have a passion for rocks (because I don’t), or that my kids have that passion (because they don’t either), but because the author made it seem like such an ordinary hobby. I thought for sure my kids would make a comment on her passion for rocks and minerals as something they thought was odd, but they did not. In fact, a few days after we finished it, I found out my son was asking their babysitter what her favorite rock was (which was feldspar by the way, who knew?). I contribute that to how Lyons portrays it as important to Jada, but still makes her relatable, so it does not seem like an odd hobby in the book.
So the book goes through Jada’s struggles to find new friends, the drama with working with others on a group project, and finding a balance between doing what she wants for fun and what her friends may consider fun.
All in all, my children and I really enjoyed this bedtime read. Although it was a chapter book, my 6-year old son stayed engrossed because there were illustrations throughout the book and my 8-year old daughter got into the dynamics of Jada and her classmates. Even though we did it as a family read aloud, I think the book has a great relatable storyline and would be a great book for a child transitioning into chapter books to read on their own. Plus its a series, and we always love a series–Jada is definitely someone we will be keeping up with!
Side note: This is reason #3496854 why diversity in books is important. When I asked my daughter which of the three girls she was like, her response was, “I look like her [points to illustration], so I’m like her.”
Jada Jones: Rock Star by Kelly Starling Lyons will be released in September 2017, and this #RaisingReaders family definitely recommends it.