Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Ages: 4 - 8 years
The blurb: Grace loves to act out stories. Sometimes she plays the leading part, sometimes she is a cast of thousands.
When her school plans a performance of Peter Pan, she longs to play Peter, but her classmates say that he was a boy, and besides, he wasn’t black.
But Grace’s Ma and Nana tell her she can be anything she wants if she puts her mind to it
Surprising fact: Before making the Amazing Grace book, both Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch visited the real Grace, her mother and her Grandmother in Africa and used them as character models for their book.
Mary tells everyone that the trip was “mind-blowing” and she had a fantastic time with Grace’s family and enjoyed her time in Africa.
Christopher's review: The Amazing Grace book is a really cheerful and wonderful book to read.
You see the everyday life of Grace acting out many different roles from fictional characters to real life people of the past, and most of all she really loves listening to all kinds of stories.
I really like Grace's explosive passion for acting out through many characters' journeys and enjoying every moment of it. Like the book said, she plays any kind of person even though the role is a boy or other colours and that was an important piece to hear. Because she has a really strong passion for acting and she loves being the lead role she could experience having fun at exciting parts of the story.
It also, importantly, shows that it doesn’t matter if the lead role is a male or of other colour - if you put in the hard work, understand the characters and have fun, you will be able to achieve everything.
Another thing I really liked was the strong painted illustration of Grace, her family, the rest of the characters cast and their backgrounds. They are realistic and feel like every page is a snapshot of an actual full-size portrait.
One of the image pieces I like the most was; in page 6, Grace was relaxingly listening to Nana's stories. And in page 12 & 13, seeing Grace acting as Hiawatha and Mowgli in striking poses and movement with her cat.
In this book, it shows that Grace can do anything she wants and we witness her excitement for storytelling and acting continue to grow and her presenting a wonderful show.
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