Sunday, March 17, 2013

Latasha and the Kidd on Keys, by Michael Scotto

Latasha lives in Pittsburgh with her mom, and her very energetic dog Ella.  She lives close to her very best friend, Ricky.  Latasha begins to wonder about her father, who is largely absent from her life.  A large school project involving music gives her an excuse to spend more time with her musician father.

What a great children's book this is!  First off, Latasha is a very likeable character.  She has the same problems as most kids her age, like fights with friends and mean teachers.  However, Latasha had a special set of problems that we rarely see addressed in children's books, namely, the stress of being raised by a single parent with an absent co-parent.  I think the author does an incredible job of tackling this topic, and showing how family dynamics impact children.  I also like that the main character is a female of color in an urban setting.  We need more stories like this.

I liked that the book tackles real issues in a way that children will understand, without them seeming watered- or dumbed- down.  I also liked that not everything was resolved in a picture perfect fashion.  Life never works that way, so I think it is important that children have realistic stories from which they can learn coping mechanisms.

I am also quite partial to the fact that the story is set in Pittsburgh.  A fair amount of (accurate) Pittsburgh charm is inserted into the story.  All Pittsburgh schools should have this book in their libraries.

I received a review copy courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

If you liked this review, please rate it (and others!) as helpful on my Amazon profile. My Amazon Profile

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