Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Brave Year of Firsts Tries, Sighs, and High Fives

My Brave Year of Firsts  Tries Sighs, and High Fives

Written By:  Jamie Lee Curtis 
Illustrated by:  Laura Cornell 

"The FIRST time I rode a two-wheeler alone, I crashed and my mom filmed it on her iPhone."

Jamie Lee Curtis is probably known for her acting but how many people have read her books!  I have several of them and love the ones I own but this one was new for me and I can say it did not disappoint.

This is a story about a little girl going to first grade and her trials and triumphs over many firsts that children all encounter in their lives both in school and out.  Curtis tells how first can be scary, exciting, make us laugh, and cry.  This book is not only about first activities such as riding your bike for the first time, the first day of school, and checking out your first library book.  It also talks about first lessons such as when she learned that it is okay to "stand up and say I did something wrong"  and it "starts to make it OK."

Curtis uses a poetic short sentence writing to create a picture that it is okay to make mistakes and life will be hard but its worth it.  She also has created a book with the theme that if you step out on a limb (or in our girls case a rock) and you "jump without fear" then you might just succeed and feel good about yourself for trying.

The last two pages of the book are my favorite because I think they give the message to children that there are going to be many firsts in their life and they should be brave and strong when they encounter them or else they might miss out on life.

"Some firsts just happen.
Some come when I try.
Some firsts make me smile.
Some firsts make me cry.
But I knew at that moment- though I've known all along -
That first things first happen when I'm brave, true, and strong."

 She also tells children that all firsts might not be great but they are apart of their life and important all the same. I think this book is good for children as well as adult because it will get them thinking about the firsts they had in their life and reminisce about their life.  It might even strike up a conversation between them and their children about their brave firsts.

The illustrations in this story match the daring and exciting life of the little first grade girl.  They start on the end papers with her trying and trying to ride her bike.  The accurate drawings while being colorful drawing could almost be pictures of a little girl and the different things that one does when trying to learn their "two-wheeler."  The full bleed pages allow us to feel like we are apart of the story and really help us to jump into the story.  I loved when she was talking about learning to first tie her shoes and Cornell has illustrated many different shoes with ways to try them around a small picture of the girl and her Auntie Cookie trying to tie shoes.  I also loved the quirkiness and the humor behind her illustrations such as when she started first grade.  The children in the story are doing many different things including some rocking huddled up under the table. Which, although was very grown up humor was very telling to how some children feel about starting something new.

Curtis and Cornell are a great team and together they have worked on 10 books about children and growing up and life.  You can check out these books at http://www.jamieleecurtisbooks.com/.

Check out this interesting interview with Jamie about what she did to write this book and why "stepping out of our comfort zone" is something children adults both need a push to do.  


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