Nancy Atwell said it best, “The job of adults who care about KIDS is to move heaven and earth to put that book into a child’s hands.” Up until last week I had no clue who Michael Scotto was, but after reading his book “Latasha and the LIttle Red Tornado” I can say that his book deserves to be in the hands of young readers.
Their is no doubt in my mind that Latasha has a chance to become a huge hit in my classroom. The protagonist in this story is an black third grade girl living in Pittsburgh. Students will immediately fall in love with Latasha in the first few pages as they are introduced to her spunk. Latasha is a character full of live, thoughts, hopes and dreams. She jumps off the page and into your heart.
I think that this book deals with so many issues that make it relatable to young readers. Here are a few:
1. Single parent home
2. Wanting to feel grown up
3. Having to have to spend a lot of time at a babysitters
4. Making friends
5. Being honest
6. Problems juggling responsibilities
Many more, you get the point.
Oh yeah, this book will throw you for a loop that you never see coming! We all love that right?
In my opinion we do not have enough middle grade books where the main character is a black female, and in many of the books that do have a black female main character, the book often focuses on racism and civil rights. I know that racism is still a huge issue in the world that we live in, but at the same time young black females need to know that their is more to them then just the color of their skin. I hope that this doesn’t sound wrong coming from a “white dude”, but I know that readers at times want to read books with characters that look like them, and deal with things they deal with, and I do not feel like the young female black population has enough characters like Latasha.
(If I was off base at all in the previous paragraph please leave a comment. I would love to become more educated in this area.)
If you are looking for a great read with a strong theme and unforgettable characters please give author Michael Scotto’s book a chance. You will not regret it. That is a promise.