Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier

Published by Versify

Just Right Jillian: Collier, Nicole D.: 9780358434610: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Jillian is smart and a talented weaver, but her shyness holds her back from showing others who she really is.  Things have been even harder since her beloved grandmother died, and the promise she made to Grammy to be herself weighs heavily on Jillian.  Deciding to compete in her school’s Mind Bender competition forces her to begin to emerge from her shell, a process that is paralleled by the eggs developing in her classroom’s incubator. When Mama gets sick and Jillian misses a crucial day of competition, she is forced to make a decision to either drop out and fade into the background or to stand up for her right to be part of the tournament.  As the chicks begin to hatch out of their eggs, the real Jillian emerges and gets to enjoy the rewards that come from courageously being herself.  224 pages; grades 3-6.

Pros:  I’m always appreciative of middle grade books that feature an elementary school kid.  Readers in fourth and fifth grade will definitely relate to Jillian and her classmates, and the more introverted ones will be inspired by Jillian’s journey.

Cons:  Jillian tells us that her school has given up “those scary standardized tests in May” in favor of the optional (and fun) Mind Bender competition…if only this were an actual possibility for any 21st century US public school.

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