Stacey’s Extraordinary Words

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Dec. 2021. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063209473.
K-Gr 2–Abrams shares her love of words in this picture book drawn from a childhood memory. Young Stacey loves to read and write, collecting unique words in a notebook dedicated just to that purpose. When her teacher nominates her to represent the class in the school spelling bee, she isn’t sure she can do it. Not only will it mean talking in front of a lot of people but it also means standing up to the kid in her class who uses words to hurt others. She knows that she will be nervous, but with lots of preparation and practice, she is ready for the bee and a showdown with the class bully. Readers familiar with Abrams, the public speaker and politician, will see the beginnings of a lifelong fascination with words, as well as the passion for fighting for others. Using clever layouts and eye-catching fonts, this book will draw in readers to the many words that fascinated the author. The tension between spellers will also come to life as words dance around the page; the struggle is visible on each speller’s face. At times, the size and color of the text get lost in the dark hues of the digital illustrations, but the message of perseverance and the power of words will not be lost on the young. A word list and extensive author’s notes are included at the end.
VERDICT A great addition for collections looking for stories about current political figures, as well as story time with a biography emphasis.

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