Book Review: MY NAME IS NOT ALEXANDER

-posted by Ruth

My Name Is Not Alexander:  Just How Big Can a Little Kid Dream? by Jennifer Fosberry, illustrated by Mike Litwin

What men who changed the world can inspire the imagination of little boys–and offer role models at the same time?  What about Fred Astaire, creative dancing genius?  Or Jackie Robinson, baseball phenomenon. . . and of course Daddy, who “is proud of his inner geek, loves his children and plays fun games with them.”  Alexander imagines himself to be several of history’s “greats”–with an emphasis on their gentler sides as well as their famous attributes.  Chief Joseph was a proud warrior, showing strength and courage in battle–and also worked for free and equal treatment of his people, the Nez Perce tribe.  Thomas Edison was a curious kid whose experiments often got him into trouble–and became one of the most famous inventors of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Last fall, I reviewed My Name is Not Isabella, and loved it.  I bought copies for lots of little girls in my life, and some of the bigger ones, too!  I have looked forward to this companion book for little boys–and I can happily recommend it as a great read.  I find myself surprised at some of the choices author  Fosberry makes, though.  They are fine, but I can imagine many others I’d prefer.  I mean, really, where’s Charles Darwin? But I suppose we can’t all have the same taste.   So, we can all think of the actors, leaders, creative artists we would add, and share them with the little boys in our lives, right?

Just like in the first book, the pictures are terrific and have lots of clues to share with its audience.  The “Men Who Changed the World” appendix has just the right amount of interesting material to whet young readers’ appetites for more.  I particularly like the list of books and websites at the end that point to more resources to continue to inspire kids.  Happy exploring!

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