Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Review: Joey Gonzalez, Great American, by Tony Robles

Nine-year old Joey Gonzalez has a dream... to become a GREAT AMERICAN.

Unfortunately, not all teachers believe ALL children capable of greatness, especially if they belong to a minority group, like Joey does.

On his first day of third grade, Joey walks to school with friends, some of them from ethnic backgrounds as well. However, his high spirits soon come to an end when he meets his class teacher, Mrs. Glass. Tall and thin, garbed in a demure black dress, her fingers witch-like and pointy, she crushes his self confidence by calling him 'different' and labeling him as a minority. She also points out that "it's a little bit harder for minorities to learn..."

Later, as he walks back home with his friends, they talk about the race card and affirmative action. Confused by these new terms and ideas, Joey goes to his Mom. Did she lie to him? Why did she say he could be a great American? Why didn't she tell him that he was a minority?

Fortunately, all ends well and Joey and his friends teach Mrs. Glass a lesson.

Joey Gonzalez, Great American is an important book and one schools should have in their permament shelves. It not only teaches children about such concepts as minority, race card and affirmative action, but also about self confidence and believeving in oneself. As Joey's Mom says in the story, "You should stand up and speak the truth no matter what people think or say. That's being a great American."

This is a bilingual book, so each page is written in English first, then in Spanish. The soft illustrations by artist Jim Pryor match well the theme of the story and bring it to life. This is not only an educational book, but an interesting story children will enjoy. Highly recommended.

Visit the author' website.
Purchase the book from Amazon.

About the author....

Tony Robles was born in Brooklyn, New York. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he pursued a career in law enforcement with the U.S. Customs Service. He and his wife currently live in the Pacific Northwest and have two children and one grandchild.Growing up Hispanic in a tough neighborhood supposedly made Tony Robles one of the “disadvantaged,” needing special preferences in order to compete. Tony’s mom didn’t agree, and she is the inspiration behind this book.

Book's Blurb...

“How can I become a great American if I’m not an American in the first place?”
Third-grader Joey Gonzalez dreamed of becoming a great American. His plan? Study hard and learn everything he could. Then one day, his teacher said that because he was something called a “minority,” he wasn't smart enough to make his dream come true!

Still, something called “affirmative action” could help him, she said…But as Joey taps into the strength, intelligence and courage of his Spanish ancestors, he learns that personal pride, self-reliance and a love of learning—not special preferences—are the keys to becoming a good citizen…and a great American.

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