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MY NAME IS NOT ISABELLA

Author: Jennifer Fosberry

Illustrator: Mike Litwin

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Monkey Barrel Press, ©2008

Material: hard cover

Summary: When mom comes to wake Isabella, Isabella has changed her name to Sally. At breakfast, Sally becomes Annie, and through the course of the day changes to Rosa, Marie, and Elizabeth. Each a woman of accomplishment: Sally Ride, Annie Oakley, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, and Elizabeth Blackwell. At the end of the day, Isabella takes the name of her biggest heroine: Mommy. This picture book introduces pre-readers and young readers to famous women in history.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, learning to read, read aloud book, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 9

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 2

Age of Child: Read with nearly 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: We read this repeatedly, each night for nearly a week. Within a few days, our daughter had memorized her lines as Isabella, and was also reading along. Even after several weeks we still get requests for this book.

Adult Reader Reaction: What a fun way to introduce famous women to young children. Thanks to the short biographies in the back, parents can build out the individual heroines (even if they forgot a couple facts). The bio for Mommy is a nice touch.

Pros: This picture book is driven by dialogue, which immediately engages kids in the story. It is the perfect format for introducing children to women who changed the world and the biography genre.

Cons: None. I hope there is a companion book for boys.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. There are few books that so effectively introduce kids to important people at a level they can appreciate and a format they can understand.

If You Liked This Book, Try: 100 AMERICAN WOMEN WHO SHAPED AMERICAN HISTORY   NINE FAMOUS ARTISTS YOUR CHILDREN WILL LOVE; An Art Discovery Primer and Handbook for Parents and Their Children   PHILLIS WHEATLEY, YOUNG REVOLUTIONARY POET (Young Patriots Series)

Educational Themes: In addition to the short biographies, the author offers definitions of the roles each woman played (sharpshooter, activist, scientist). There is also a very nice list of books and websites listed at the back to make it easy to build on the story.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 2.0
2008 Gold Medal, Moonbeam Children's Book Award (Picture Book 5-8 category)
The Reading Tub, Inc. read a pre-release version of this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, history, biography

Date(s) Reviewed: June 2008

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