Wednesday, January 9, 2008

AMELIA RULES!: Volumes 2-3

Volume 2

Volume 3


AUTHOR: Jimmy Gownley
ILLUSTRATOR: Jimmy Gownley
PUBLISHER: Renaissance Press
GENRE: Realism

FORMAT: Hardback
VOLUME 2: What Makes You Happy
VOLUME 3: Superheroes
PAGES: 176 pages each
COLOR: Full color
ISBN (2): 0-9712169-5-9
ISBN (3): 0-9712169-7-5

Amelia’s story continues in these next two volumes in the hit, all-ages series. Reggie leads his band of pint-sized super heroes to battle against the Ninjas across town and the Legion of Steves. Amelia gets caught up in a kiss that would make Shakespeare proud. All the while, the hardships of the real world keep coming and Amelia makes her way through it with the help of those around her.

Gownley’s work is genius.

He has an ability to create levels of storytelling through a coupling of art and writing that is amazing in its simultaneous simplicity and depth. He understands children and their views of the world in a way that many writers, teachers and parents just cannot realize.

Good literature is relevant to readers generation after generation, and even though Gowley fills his stories with pop culture references, his work will stand up over the years. This is because the story is not really about ninjas or VH1. AMELIA RULES! is about the life and times of youth: their carefree summer afternoons spent playing with friends and the internal struggles of life. This story is universal and transcends any current cultural references, and this is what makes it great.

AMELIA RULES! succeeds where other books do not in that Gownley is able to tap into the real life of kids without being heavy handed or overwhelming. Amelia is very reflective but she does not understand the world from an adult perspective. She is a child and sees the world from her own young eyes. Lots of authors try to create a reflective protagonist, but instead end up with pages of tripe. Finding the balance and then maintaining it over three novels is a feat to behold. Like the bowl of porridge that Goldilocks finds in the bears’ home, Gownley’s story telling is neither too hot nor too cold; it is just right.

My Rating: All Ages
Publisher’s Rating: Ages 8-12

AMELIA RULES! (the entire series) is an important title to have in an elementary classroom, especially in grades 3-6. The story is aimed at this age group of kids. The stories are relevant, exciting, interesting and powerful. AMELIA RULES! can be used across the curriculum and the stories allow children to make connections between their lives and the bigger community. Using Amelia’s point of view students can begin to see beyond themselves in a way that will make sense to them. At the same time, kids will be able to relate to Amelia and her wacky yet typical friends.

Click here for the Economics Lesson Plan I designed using AMELIA RULES!

Click here to download the pdf of AMELIA RULES! “The Things I Cannot Change” for free.

AMELIA RULES! is now available at the Scholastic school book fairs. This will be a special, 128 page, manga-sized book that will highlight the best AMELIA stories. It will sell for $4.99.

Highly Recommended
Periodically I have people come around the classroom and ask about what books would be great for their child. I pull out certain titles and AMELIA RULES! is always among the pack. It is fantastic. It is one of the titles that my 7-year-old daughter loves to read over and over again.

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