Author Randa Handler – Book Review

Disclosure: I have received a copy of these 2 books to facilitate to my review. All opinions are 100% my own.

I recently connected with author Randa Handler because I was intrigued by her children’s book. As the author and illustrator, Handler almost always include multiracial characters to help promote acceptance and diversity in children. Her books are beautifully illustrated which makes it easy for children to enjoy and follow.

I had the opportunity to read 2 of Handler’s books which were not only interesting to me but my children enjoyed them too (at least my 7 and 5 year old but it was too much for my 3 year old).

god

“The Boy Who Spoke to God” Summary:

Unable to agree on their ideas about God and religious celebrations, four ethnic tribes—Greeks, Chinese, Zulus, and Mayans—who live together harmoniously most of the year, combining aspects of each of their cultures to make their kingdom strong and prosperous, suddenly become divisive when religious holidays approach. During such times, they cannot agree on the timing or manner of religious traditions, and they each have their own god who looks and dresses as they do.

When Niko, a young Greek boy, has several dreams of God, each tribe interprets the various details of his dreams according to its own view of God, further emphasizing the tribes’ differences in beliefs. Subsequently, Niko is shunned for having created even more disharmony and for lying to the tribes, or so they think, as no one believes he dreamed of God.

To clear up all the confusion and arrive at the truth, Niko begs God to manifest in one final dream. This time, God shows him that the tribes’ beliefs are actually different expressions of the same god. Niko concludes that God is like colorless and formless iridescent light and the beliefs of all tribes about their gods are correct, as these gods are like colors of the rainbow that derive from white light.

What I really liked about the book is that it is a modern day folktale that teaches children about different cultures. It gives children a better understanding of the diversity in culture and religion that exists in our world that is becoming more diverse everyday. The story sparked questions by my children which was interesting, they had never heard of Zulu so we had to look it up to know more. I really liked “The Boy Who Spoke to God” because it does not force religion upon anyone, it just opens your eyes to recognize that no religion is right or wrong, they are all just different.

cubbie

“Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot” Summary:

Three multiracial seven-year-old boys with varied backgrounds befriend a super-wise visitor from an enchanted part of Antarctica, tiny Cubbie Blue and his minuscule dog, Dot, who have accidentally landed in their hometown. Even though Cubbie is only three inches tall and therefore appears vulnerable, he has supernatural powers. He can read minds, make himself invisible, or stop time when needed. He also has the uncanny ability to only see things in a positive light.

Throughout the series, this new friendship leads to important discoveries for both the boys and Cubbie. As they fly over cities in a magical bubble and explore realms near and far, Cubbie and Dot learn the true meaning of friendship and how to solve small and big problems while feeling protected in their scary new environment. The bond between them proves that sometimes unlikely allies are found among beings who seem to have the greatest differences. The tiny creatures are effective vehicles for conveying subtle messages, about rights and wrongs within the frame of an exciting and entertaining story.

This is another book that endorses diversity. It teaches about acceptance of differences and also teaches children positive moral and values. It did not spark as many questions from my kids but it did drive some good lessons into them. The boys in the story are forced to solve problems during their adventure which is where the lessons originate from.

Randa Handler has a great grasp on multiculturalism and diversity and how to teach acceptance to children in an engaging manner. Handler’s stock of books include a few more than the ones reviewed. Each one is just as valuable and interesting. These are great books for a classroom to instill positive lessons and start a conversion between students and their teacher. Fantastic for the 6-8 year old group which was right up the alley for my boys (I think that is why they enjoyed the stories so much).