Amber Brown is Not a Crayon

Amber Brown is Not a Crayon is a story about the friendship between a young boy and girl.  The story teaches us how people deal with emotions differently at an early age.  The book is reviewed by Melissa G. of Sweet on Books.

What You Need to Know:
• The easy going boy/girl friendship makes this book appropriate for boys and girls.
• Important and, sometimes, difficult subject matters like a friend moving and divorce are covered.
• This book is often used in lesson plans since many elements within the story are relevant to classroom activities.
• The first person narration, “I, Amber Brown” helps the reader get to know Amber and connect to her.
• Readers can feel Amber’s emotions – her sadness at the thought of Justin moving away and her frustration when people make fun of her unusual name.
• Amber has a pretty good understanding of herself.
• Readers will relate to typical third grade experiences like pretend trips to China, learning fractions and spelling, and being silly with friends.
• Readers will gain insight into the coping mechanisms of a third grader.

Sweet Book Summary:
Amber Brown and Justin Daniels have been best friends since preschool. They always sit next to each other on class trips, they help each other with schoolwork and they know what the other is thinking. According to Amber, Justin “makes life more fun.” The only problem is that Justin is moving. Amber had thought life was hard when her parents got divorced, but Justin’s moving feels even more horrible. It gets even worse when Amber and Justin don’t want to deal with it the same way. Amber wants to talk about it but Justin won’t and that is hard for Amber to understand. They end up fighting and stop speaking over a silly argument that is really just an indicator of what is going on below the surface. With a little help from her mom, Amber realizes that sometimes people deal with a difficult situation by pretending that it isn’t happening. She comes to understand that her friendship with Justin is still strong and just because he isn’t acting that way, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel just as sad as she does about his leaving. That knowledge enables them to make up and enjoy their last few days together.

Author: Paula Danziger Illustrator: Tony Ross Published: 1994, 80 pages
Themes: Divorce, Family Life, Friendship, Life Changes, Moving, and School

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