Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Children's Book Review... Five Stars!!

Sam Brown
Herbert I AM-I CAN
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781432748425
Pages: 48

Herbert has a dream to be a firefighter like is his father was. He is twelve-years-old and is unable to think of anything else. His dad died a hero saving a family in a fire. Herbert has visited the firehouse on numerous occasions and knew this was his desired goal especially after his dad’s death. In addition, he felt being a Boy Scout would better aid him in his efforts of becoming a firefighter. There were no meetings in his neighborhood but when his mother mentioned she had met a scout master, he was immediately interested in joining. The only problem was that the meetings were a few blocks from where he lived. He would have to walk past the one person he was afraid of on his trip home from the meetings donned in his Boy Scout uniform—Roscoe, the neighborhood bully.

Herbert’s fears became real each time he returned to his neighborhood as he was subjected to ridicule by Roscoe. On one spectacular day Herbert saw smoke coming from his apartment building while on his way home. After running toward it he realized it wasn’t his apartment on fire but Roscoe’s. Herbert never hesitated to save his enemy.

This book is a story filled with many life lessons that are imperative for children to learn—kindness, social responsibility, caring, fortitude—to name a few. I worked in a school district for many years with children who owned dreams as large as Herbert’s yet the tools I was able to utilize to offer guidance were not reflective of these children. I commend Mr. Brown while at the same time thank him for creating a book with the images of children that are not generally portrayed in a positive light. It will further enhance their learning. In addition, the safety tips in the back of the book are very important as families need to prepare for these situations. Their lives depend on it.

This book should be on the shelves in elementary school libraries, homes, public libraries and used as a tool during fire safety programs which occur annually in most school districts. I highly recommend this book!!

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