Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Yolonda's Genius by Carol Fenner
This is a book for grades 4-6 but middle school and high school students should borrow it from their sisters or brothers and read it!
Carol Fenner, the author of one of the 1996 Newbery Honor books, Yolonda's Genius, uses several techniques to develop the characteristics of two African American children, bright, fifth-grade Yolonda and her slower younger brother Andrew.
The author reveals both Yolonda's intelligence and her retaliation ability after she is teased about her size through an incident in which Yolonda responds to being called a whale.
Yolonda tells her fellow bus rider that he knows nothing about whales because " Whales are the most remarkable mammals in the ocean, all five oceans" (p. 16). She then provides information about whales, such as "The whales sank, lifting their tails high above the water like a signal. Deep in the ocean, their voices sent out a high swelling cry, sharing their message of victory hundred miles."
We learn that Yolonda goes to the library each week to learn new facts.
Yolonda's positive attitudes and Andrew's possible musical genius are developed as Yolonda shares Andrew's abilities. Yolonda's actions show both her respect for Andrew's talents and her dislike for those who torment her younger brother because he is a slower learner in school.
After reading the book, readers understand that both characters have well-rounded personalities.