Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Julia's Words

Julia's Words, written by Judith L. Roth, uses a diary-like format to tell the story of one girl's budding friendship with a deaf child. The two meet at a coastal summer camp.

Julia uses her hands to speak, but Christina doesn't know sign language. As they spend more time together, they learn to communicate and their friendship grows. One night, though, Christina brushes off Julia's questions because she doesn't know how to explain what Julia can't hear.

The next day Christina can't find Julia. Instead of searching for her, she decides to spend time with other girls, girls who can hear and talk easily. Later when she finally finds Julia, Julia is angry. After Christina struggles to find an explanation, Julia writes in the sand: "You give up too easy." This challenges Christina and sparks a lifelong friendship. The two friends realize that some of the best things only come through work and perseverance.

The illustrations by Brooke Rothshank provide soft, watercolor depictions of the main characters. At the back of the book are illustrations of signs Julia teaches to her friend throughout the story.

What I Like: I like the honest emotion within the story. My daughter was instantly drawn in. Julia's condemnation of her friend was an unexpected twist, one that forces readers to evaluate their own levels of persistence within relationships. I also like that the back of the book offers illustrations teaching various words in American Sign Language. Very few books feature deaf characters, so this is fantastic. Also, few books feature Asian main characters. Having an interracial family, this is a big "plus" to me.

What I Dislike: The Christian content is minimal. This isn't really a "dislike" as much as it is a wish. This story offers a great illustration for several lessons in faith and Christian love, but none of those are made to completion. Rather, it's just a nice story about friendship. The only specific reference to Christianity is the quotation of Scripture on the dedication page (1 Peter 4:8, 10, quoted in the New Living Translation).

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 6-10

Publisher Info: Herald Press, 2009; ISBN: 0836194179; Paperback; $12.99

Buy it Now at for $10.99!

OR Buy it at for $11.04.

Special Info: I don't want to say this book is "Just for Girls" because the lesson is gender neutral. However, you should be aware there are no boy characters within this book.

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