Book Birthday Blitz: A Review of Jana’s Brightly Coloured Socks by Sally Fetouh
Today I am taking part in the Book Birthday Blitz for Jana’s Brightly Coloured Socks by Sally Fetouh and illustrated by Alexis Schnitger. This children’s picture book was released last year and I am sharing my review. Happy First Book Birthday!
Author Sally Fetouh was inspired to write this touching story by her own daughter who has Down syndrome, feeling it was important for her and other children like her to be able to see themselves in literature. Two years ago, after reading a different story about a girl with Down syndrome to her daughter’s preschool class, Sally says, “The children were so engaged in the story and asked questions. They were very accepting and loving of their friend—my daughter. I left with a heart overflowing with emotion and that inspired me to write my story.”
When young Jana receives heaps of beautiful socks from her parents after learning how to put on socks all by herself, she can’t wait to show her friends at school. They are always kind and patient with Jana when they play together. Jana decides to share a pair of her new socks with each and every friend. This calls for a school sock parade! All of the children had so much fun showing off their colourful socks together that they gave a very special and huge gift for their kind and generous friend, Jana, a box of more socks!
There is cheerful text and whimsical illustrations that bring alive this heart-warming story of kindness and inclusion featuring a character with Down Syndrome.
Jana’s Brightly Coloured Socks
Author: Sally Fetouh
Illustrator: Alexis Schnitger
Published: May 21, 2022
Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: May 18, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Jana’s Brightly Coloured Socks is a colorful picture book aimed at children ages 4 and up and focuses on friendship, kindness, and inclusion! Jana has Down Syndrome and she was able to get her socks on herself! Her parents celebrate this accomplishment and Jana takes socks to all the kids at school. This is a simple yet fun book with the illustrations that enhance the story 1000%! The illustrations are watercolor like for me and could tell the story themselves!
We have lots of inclusion and diversity in the pictures presented. The story along with the pictures really show how that even though we are all different in our own way, but that’s ok! The world would be very boring if we were all the same!
This short children’s book can also teach: The focus in the story is socks and how they are all different. Socks reference the extra chromosome that people with Down Syndrome have. Did you know that Chromosomes look like socks? There is also a hashtag: #lotsofsocks which has a campaign: Lots of Socks.
We need more books like this that both children and adults can enjoy and learn something from!
Through the author here.
About the Author:
Writing is very much a part of who author Sally Fetouh is as a human being. As a child, writing was a way for her to express herself and all of the stories and ideas she had in her head. Now, as an adult, she has been inspired to write a beautiful story of kindness and friendship, Jana’s Brightly Coloured Socks, a heart-warming picture book loosely based on her daughter who has Down syndrome.
It was important to Sally that her daughter and other children like her were able to see themselves represented in literature. The idea came to Sally when she visited her daughter’s preschool to read a story about a girl with Down syndrome. The loving, accepting, and inquisitive responses from her daughter’s classmates inspired her to write a story reflecting these caring friendships.
Sally believes a great book is one that has impactful characters and a story that provides a new experience or perspective to the reader that stays with them long after the book is closed. She hopes that her young readers with disabilities or those who are different in some way will be able to relate to the main character and see a little bit of themselves, while also aiming for other readers to gain insight into the world of Down syndrome and the importance and impact of kindness and friendship.
When she isn’t writing thought-provoking children’s books, Sally works as a lawyer and a photographer. She enjoys being in nature, hiking, and horse riding. She lives with her family in Sydney, Australia. Jana’s Brightly Coloured Socks is her debut picture book.
Book Review: Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W. Stokes
Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas
Series: Addison Cooke #1
Author: Jonathan W. Stokes
Published: October 11, 2016
Reviewed By: Cristina
Smooth-talking, refined twelve-year-old Addison Cooke loves a grand adventure, especially one that involves using his vast knowledge of history and archaeology, learned from his aunt and uncle, both world-famous researchers. If that adventure includes an expertly-knotted Windsor tie and an Arnold Palmer on the rocks, all the better.
Luckily for Addison, adventure has a way of finding the Cookes. After Addison’s uncle unearths the first ancient Incan clue needed to find a vast trove of lost treasure, he is kidnapped by members of a shadowy organization intent on stealing the riches. An expert in Incan history, Addison’s uncle is the bandits’ key to deciphering the ancient clues and looting the treasure. . . unless Addison and his friends can outsmart the kidnappers and decipher the clues first. So it’s off to Peru (business class, no less), across the Amazon, and all the way to Machu Picchu in a race for riches and history.
Addison Cooke is just your regular almost 13-year-old guy–he’s got an 11-year-old sister, Molly, and loves to read about ancient civilizations. He’s got two best buddies, Raj and Eddie. His aunt and uncle are in charge of the local museum. Pretty easy, normal life–until his uncle and aunt get kidnapped by the Russian mafia because of a treasure clue they discovered! Addison and his friends are off on the adventure of their lives. Will they beat the evil Professor Ragar to the treasure? Can they save Uncle Nigel and Aunt Delia? Between Addison’s smooth talking, Molly’s quick thinking, Raj’s survival skills and Eddie’s ability to speak Spanish, they just might get through this adventure alive.
Confession: I love the movie “Goonies.” I also love Indiana Jones. (Yes, my childhood was in the 1980’s, how did you guess?!) I picked this book up largely because the cover art put me in mind of an Indiana Jones style adventure. I was not disappointed! I enjoyed how the characters were introduced, and allowed to grow throughout the story. The story was full of treasure hunting clues and a few fun clichés, but they only added to the story. This is a story written for young people who have dreams of adventure.
As an adult reading this, I had to suspend disbelief a few times (the airport scene–yeah, the kids aren’t making the flight in real life), but as a 12 year old, I would have loved watching them pull one over on the clueless adults. Who am I kidding? I enjoyed it as an adult. There are also plenty of laughs along the way. The scene where they crash a Cartel wedding? Priceless. I was giggling out loud. I recommend this book for 4th graders and up. And a little bonus? You’re going to learn some ancient Incan history, too. Enjoy!
Children’s Book Review: Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-El
Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North
Series: The Very, Very Far North #2
Author: Dan Bar-El
Published: October 6, 2020
Reviewed By: Cristina
The adventures of Duane the polar bear and his arctic friends continue in this charming sequel to the modern-day classic The Very, Very Far North, which Booklist compared to Winnie the Pooh in a starred review.
Past the place where icebergs shiver, you will find the Very, Very Far North, where Duane and his friends are sure to make you feel right at home. You might like to share a delicious Snow Delight with warmhearted Duane. While you’re slurping away, if C.C. suddenly asks you where you’ve come from, it’s not because she’s nosy; she is simply gathering scientific data. If Handsome, the musk ox, pays a visit, a quick hair combing is highly recommended. Should you notice a quiet caribou grazing nearby, well, that’s just Boo’s way of saying hello.
And if a less-than-friendly visitor arrives to sneak, shove, and shake things up, Duane and the others might discover that life isn’t always as peaceful as mid-late-afternoon nap. Fortunately, they know that change is as much a part of life as picnics and Tuesdays and cozy stories shared among friends.
Duane is a polar bear. A kind one. He has a friend named Handsome who is a musk ox, and a vain one at that, C.C. the snowy owl, who is extremely scientific and a bit socially awkward, Twitch the artic hare who loves to bake, Magic the artic fox who is a bit mischievous and Major Puff, a puffin who may just have a crush on Twitch. Oh, and Boo! She’s a super shy reindeer with a secret talent. Together, they are learning about what it means to be a good friend and enjoy life in the Far North. And when a sneaky little weasel shows up to cause friction, this group of friends figures out how to work things out just fine.
At times I like to read a book or two that is simply warm and fuzzy. No crazy heart pounding adventures, no major mysteries, no dystopian governments to overthrow. Just a feel good story. Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North fit that bill perfectly. If you have a reader who enjoyed The Wild Robot or Winnie the Pooh, this story is for them. It was refreshing to read a story where kindness is valued, feelings are acknowledged–good or not so good–and community is valued as important. There is gentle humor throughout the book as well, and the narrator occasionally addresses the reader directly, a delightful “fourth wall” break used well. So, when you need a little break, settle in with Duane and his friends. Your heart will feel lighter for visiting with them.