Cilla Lee-Jenkins was one of Avery’s favorite books this year. She's an independent reader, but I read it aloud to her because I didn’t want to miss out on it either, and it was a memorable shared experience. I loved it.
Research shows that children benefit so much from discussing books that they’re reading, and that even older children who are independent readers still benefit from being read aloud to by a parent. As a parent, you’re able to explain unfamiliar words, connect the new experiences in the book with kids’ prior real-life experiences and help them understand the themes of the story and the author’s intent. All this supports kids in better comprehending what they’re reading, connecting with the text more and most of all, enjoying it (which contributes to them becoming a lifelong reader and learner).
Cilla is absolutely enjoyable as a read-aloud. She’s a "future author extraordinaire" with a penchant for the sensational and telling stories with "creative license." In other words, she's hilarious, charming and has some serious spunk. We get to hear about Cilla’s mixed-race background—her unique experiences with each and the insights she gains from a diverse background. She tells us how she overcomes her struggles with reading, bumps in the road with friendships and realizations she makes about herself as she gets older. But here's the big news—Cilla feels overshadowed by the new baby aka "The Blob" making inroads into the family and she does not want to be an older sister at all. Her solution? To write a book about herself before the baby is born—and become a best-selling author—so that no one will have a chance to forget about her.
In her sequel Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is a Classic, we continue to hear her lively voice as a young writer. She’s learning and writing about themes in her life and shares her family’s different traditions in detail, some of which involve moon cake and chocolate cake (because dessert is a BIG them in her family)!
In the first chapter, Cilla starts off Chinese New Year morning by donning all the red clothing she possibly can and leaving orange all over the house to bring luck for the new year! Auntie Eva comes to visit, and the whole family heads to Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year. The morning is filled with lively conversation, firecrackers, drums and catching up with her beloved aunt, who has some big news to share with the family.