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RILEY SOCKS

Author: Lehanne Allen

Illustrator: Gary McDaniels

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Publisher: Llumina Kids, an Imprint of Llumina Publishing,

Material: paperback

Summary: Riley Socks has cancer. She had surgery on her leg to remove the cancer when she was 18 months old and had to wear a sock over her shin for years until it fully healed. This is her story about keeping a positive attitude and not letting the cancer keep her from living her life, from having a good time. Riley inspires a cheerful, positive attitude and upbeat spirit in a time of potentially great amounts of physical and emotional pain. Riley Socks is a picture book rhyme based on a real story: a little girl who had cancer, fought it and won!

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 9

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 2.2

Age of Child: Read with two children ages 3 and 5.

Young Reader Reaction: My 5-year-old I think understood it some, but we don’t have much context in our lives to relate to it. My 3 year old enjoyed listening to the story, but the story had no significant meaning for him. They both enjoyed the story, but I think ages 5-7 are best suited to understand and discuss what is going on. I was happy to see my children trying to discuss this book.

Adult Reader Reaction: I thought the book was a great starting point for talking about medical issues and disabilities. If there is ANYONE in your life who is dealing with a difficult medical issue, this is a very positive, non-scary way of opening the subject for discussion. Riley is depicted as a real trooper, and her positive attitude shows her healing and getting back to a full and normal life. She is VERY cute (illustrations and her real picture at the end!), and you are bound to fall head over heels in love with her spirit!

Pros: It’s a great book for children dealing with major medical issues, their siblings, their peers/schoolmates, and, perhaps, even parents. It has darling illustrations, and is a helpful tool for starting a discussion about medical treatments, not to mention a positive message.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow or buy. Buy it and pass around when the subject needs to be addressed. It would be great for a classroom, a hospital or doctor’s office, as a gift to a patient (child) undergoing cancer treatment, brownie troop/cub scout troop. Best when the children have a context such as a known peer or in the context of a lesson.

If You Liked This Book, Try: ALEX AND THE AMAZING LEMONADE STAND   THE JESTER HAS LOST HIS JINGLE   THE BIGGEST AND BRIGHTEST LIGHT: A TRUE STORY OF THE HEART

Educational Themes: In addition to talking about Riley's story, you can talk about compassion and understanding for children with scars, bandages, or other medical devices. Or the disabled. The message of perseverance and keeping an upbeat spirit, and seeing a light at the end of a tunnel can be reinforced in a number of ways, too.

Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, biography, health, illness, rhyme, life lessons

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2010

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