Tomoko Takes the Lead

Amulet. (Derby Daredevils: Bk. 3). Jun. 2021. 176p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781419751721.
Gr 4-7–The third installment of Rosewater’s series is told from Tomoko’s perspective and finds the Derby Daredevils traveling to Dallas for a weeklong training camp with another junior league. Tomoko, who is Japanese American and quite shy, is nervous about the trip; she is still getting comfortable with her new friends and was looking forward to a summer of bonding. Tomoko is an avid camper, however, and her uncle helps her see that the trip might give her the chance to be a leader for her team. When she finds out that the camp is at a convention center instead of a campground, Tomoko must find other ways to share her strengths and get to know the new derby players. This is made all the more difficult by a bully whose constant microaggressions wear on Tomoko but go unnoticed by her friends. As in the first two books, the world of roller derby offers a unique and engaging backdrop for the author’s tender exploration of friendship, teamwork, communication, and identity. Escabasse’s appealing grayscale illustrations appear every few pages and help to bring the story and its characters to life.
VERDICT Warm, relevant, and inclusive, this title is accessible to readers who are new to the series, and a welcome addition for those who are already fans. Recommended.

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