Nikki & Deja by Karen English, illustrated by Laura Freeman
Nikki & Deja are best friends, and next door neighbors! They are in the same class at school, so they spend a lot of time together: doing homework, watching TV, or just watching the activity on Fulton Street. They are like sisters!
A new girl moves into the neighborhood and seems kind of stuck up, so the girls decide to start a drill club and only invite select people! Unfortunately, Nikki doesn't quite have the rhythm Deja thinks is needed, and asks her to be secretary and this hurts Nikki's feelings.
The best friends are fighting...will they make up and be best friends again?
What I Thought: I was excited to read this book. I am always on the lookout for children's books with African American main characters, and I was very pleased with this one.
Nikki and Deja are great characters and experience an issue that is probably very common in elementary clubs...the creation of exclusive "clubs" that intentionally leave out others. Then there are feelings that are hurt, and often other exclusive "clubs" pop up in revenge.
Another great talking point is the new girl Antonia and how she appears to be stuck up. Is she truly stuck up, or maybe just scared of living in a new place? We don't really know, but readers could construct their own opinions.
This is a great book to discuss how the characters feel and then scaffold that to the readers' lives and how it would feel if it happened to them.
Nikki & Deja's relationship is a joy to experience...they are truly like sisters as they argue just like sisters.
This is the first book in a new series. Book two, Birthday Blues is currently availabe and book three, Newsy News Newsletter will be out in 2010. Perfect for young-middle elementary students, especially girls.
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