The Valentine's Day concert is just a few days away. Ruby Rai is part of the Loveheart Dance. Unfortunately, when Ruby stands on tiptoe and turns circles, she wobbles and falls over. When she jumps, her feet hardly leave the ground. When she tries to wave her heart-shaped balloon gracefully, it gets caught between her knees. Ruby wants to dance just like her Auntie Pooja who won a Bollywood dancing competition! Auntie Pooja gives Ruby a heart made of rubies for good luck. Will it help Ruby dance gracefully during the concert?
A Heart for Ruby, written by Franzeska Ewart and illustrated by Lauren Tobia (Walker Books, 2009), is a really quiet book with three connected short stories for children, but I like it. I like how it handles the ideas of luck and self-confidence in a very gentle and natural way. I like how above all it is a touching book about the relationship between an aunt and her niece.
Tariq Chaudury simply adores his funny dad. But when his teacher invites his dad to school to speak about his job as a taxi driver, Tariq puts the invitation in the dustbin. Tariq's dad speaks Bengali. He has a strong accent when he speaks English. Tariq's classmate Tom Morley says that Tariq's dad sounds "stupid" when he speaks English. How can Tariq's dad give a talk at school in front of someone like Tom Morley?
I love My Dad, the Hero, written by Stella Gurney and illustrated by Katharine McEwen (Walker Books, 2008)! It has three very realistic and connected short stories for children with just the right amount and mix of tension, drama, sweetness, and tenderness. It also has perfect pace. Wow. I highly recommend this entertaining book.
[I bought my own copies of A Heart for Ruby and My Dad, the Hero.]