Book Review: Dream on, Amber by Emma Shevah

Dream on, Amber by Emma Shevah is a children's book about Ambra Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto. As a half-Japanese, half-Italian girl with a ridiculous name, Amber's not feeling molto bene (very good) about making friends at her new school. But the hardest thing about being Amber is that a part of her is missing. Her dad. He left when she was little and he isn't coming back. Not for her first day of middle- school and not for her sister's birthday party. So Amber will have to dream up a way for the Miyamoto sisters to make it on their own.

Dream on, Amber is a wonderful book for independent readers, middle grade readers, young adults, and adults. Anyone that feels caught in between, like something is missing, or that they6 do not quite fit in anywhere. Amber is a germ-a-phob, an artist afraid to share her work, a sister that wants to help and protect her little sister, and a daughter that wants to protect her mother from pain even when she has questions she really wants to ask. Starting middle school is hard for anyone, but doing so when you feel so out of place and lost is even harder. I think everyone feels awkward (at least to a certain extent) but Amber has additional challenges and a great mind and imagination. I think readers that feel outcast or lost in some way will easily connect with Amber. Readers dealing with an absent parent, are biracial, or an appearance different than those around them will relate to Amber's troubles. I enjoyed the story on several levels, and think other readers will as well.

Dream on, Amber is a wonderful children's novel that speaks to many kinds of readers. It is realistic fiction dealing with racial insensitivity, coming of age, family trouble, starting middle school, and so much more. There is something here for just about everyone, and readers that do not see something of themselves in the story will hopefully walk away with a better understanding of others that do. 

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