Reach for the Skai: How To Inspire, Empower, and Clapback

Crown. Oct. 2019. 224p. photos. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781984851543.
Gr 5-8–Jackson was raised in New York City by a single mom who worked low-wage jobs. Jackson started modeling, landing several print ads and eventually, television commercials. After she was featured in a few small movie roles, Jackson’s big break came from the Disney channel, which cast her as one of the adopted children on the popular series Jessie. Chapters describe Jackson’s personal experiences with filming a TV series as well as meeting famous people along the way. But fame has its ups and downs—Jackson shares instances where she felt bullied because she was trying to live a normal life, as well as the difficulty in being seen as a character, rather than herself. Subsequent chapters explore her fashion sense and her advocacy for local and national causes, particularly issues that impact African American girls. Name dropping, celebrity photos, and hashtags abound in this fast-paced read about a young girl’s rise to notoriety among the tween set. She seems to have remained grounded in her brief 16 years.
VERDICT Few tweens will able to identify with her fortuitous accomplishments but many will want to read about them. This will be a hit with tweens everywhere.

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