Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire is a lovely new addition to characters like Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine and Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby. Given Cilla’s Chinese-American heritage she also provides a nice counterpart to books like Carolyn Marsden’s The Gold-Threaded Dress and The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin for slightly older readers.
Cilla is 8-1/2 years old. Her family is expecting her baby sister at the end of the summer and Cilla is NOT happy about it. Since she has been told by a friend (with experience) how much attention babies take away from older children, Cilla figures if she can become a best-selling author before the baby comes then it will be difficult to forget about her after the baby is born.
Cilla writes about her experiences in Preschool, Kindergarten, First and Second Grade in the alternately funny and touching voice of a genuine primary school-age child. Her stories are sweet and touching and insightful for young readers. Cilla talks about the difficulties in making (and keeping) friends and how to be okay with accepting yourself as you are–even embracing when that may be different from others. Cilla explores the ways in which her heritage affects her family and how that impacts her, as an individual and as a member of both her immediate and her extended families.
Cilla Lee-Jenkins is a great read-aloud at home or in a primary classroom. It is a particularly good selection for the second half of 2nd Grade or the very beginning of 3rd Grade when students are beginning to organize the people around them more according to social and cultural feedback than they may have earlier.