Review: JADA JONES series/ Kelly Starling Lyons

Jada Jones – Class Act, / by Kelly Starling Lyons (Jada Jones, 2)
Penguin Workshop     ISBN     9780451534279

Jada Jones – Rock Star, / by Kelly Starling Lyons (Jada Jones, 1)
Penguin Workshop     ISBN     9780448487519
INT     Grades 1-3     Rating:     4

Author Kelly Starling Lyons kicks off a new realistic fiction series for young readers, featuring fourth grader Jada Jones.

In Jada Jones – Rock Star, Jada Jones misses her best friend Mari who moved away that summer. When her teacher assigned a group project on rocks and minerals, she is thrilled because rocks are her passion. But finding friends to work with who understand her can be a challenge. Will she rock the assignment and make new friends in the process?

In Jada Jones – Class Act, Jada is back with another school story – this time she is running for student council! Being a candidate is challenging when others pressure her to make promises she can’t keep. The last straw is a rumor spread about her fear of public speaking. Who can she trust? Will she lose friends as a result of the election?

Lyons creates a likeable character in Jada Jones. She hits just the right note of spunk without being sassy to adults, and just the right note of vulnerability without being weak. Jada is an African-American 4th grader who appeals to young readers. She has her struggles but her stories promote good values such as believe in yourself, say no to drama, and try to fix your mistakes. Most of all, her stories show that to have a friend, one must be a friend.

Lyons’ books are delightfully illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton in these easy-to-read chapter books. Readers in 1st-3rd grade will enjoy meeting Jada and her friends!

Recommended for school and public libraries. Fans of “Katie Woo” and “Ivy and Bean” will welcome this new series.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.