Cilla Lee-Jenkins, Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan

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by Susan Tan
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Cilla is 8 and has been an only child – until now. Her parents are expecting a baby and it’s pretty much the worst thing ever. Cilla loves having her parents and grandparents all to herself (even if they don’t all seem to like each other). She’s determined to write her book before the baby is born, so she’s on a tight deadline. Then she realizes that her Chinese grandparents and her Caucasian grandparents don’t get along because of cultural misunderstandings, and that the only one who’s going to understand how she really feels in this family is her baby sister, so she gets on board in the end.

Cilla has a strong personality that reminds me strongly of other 8-year-old female protagonists like Judy Moody, Ruby Lu, Junie B. Jones and especially Clementine. The bi-racial aspect and becoming a big sister are fresh takes on a tried-and-true tone. Some of the humor might be lost on kids but will keep their parents entertained as a nighttime read-aloud. The author herself is bi-racial and I believe wrote this story to make sure bi-racial kids are better represented.

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