Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 18, 2008)
Available in: library binding, paperback, audible, audible CD, Kindle, NOOK
At the time of this review there were 12 books in the Just Grace series.
Just Grace is a girl we know: active, often in trouble, misunderstood, smart, put upon, kind, empathetic and just a bit of an attitude. There are similar characters in chapter book fiction (Junie B. Jones, Clementine, Judy Moody and Marty McGuire come to mind), but Grace Stewart is still one very welcome kid in the crowd.
I like this series because it has a number of interesting twists on the usual chapter book subset. There’s an odd and intriguing mix of geography, from France to Wisconsin to California. There are inventive projects intended to make someone feel better. The text breaks are not so much in chapter format as train of thought and, often, a numbered list. It’s easy and fresh, and a child could be mid-way through before she even realized it. That’s a confidence builder.
Best suited for girls in the second through fourth grades, Just Grace does have a few challenging components. Paragraphs can be quite long, and the vocabulary contains some real corkers for this age group, such as anthropology, inspiration and empathy. But with the author/illustrator’s lively and touching comic-style drawings and infrequent use of photos, the tough words are no roadblock. Instead, the book reads quirky and true, something utterly Grace.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….