Review: Stories Julian Tells

“If she was laughing at me, I was going to go home and forget about her. But she looked at me very seriously and said ‘It takes practice,” and then I liked her.” p. 62

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The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Ann Strugnell.
Random House, New York, my edition 2006 (originally published 1981).
Realistic fiction, 71 pages.
Lexile:  520L  .
AR Level:  3.4 (worth 1.0 points)  .
NOTE: This is the first book in the Julian series.

Six first-person short stories revolving around Julian Bates.

The Stories Julian Tells resized
The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Ann Strugnell.

I’ve already reviewed two later books in this series, Gloria Rising and Gloria’s Way.  Series order isn’t strictly necessary, although a few things change as the series progresses (new characters are introduced, the boys get a dog).  At this point, the main characters are just Julian, younger brother Huey, and their parents.  Gloria is introduced in the final story of this book.

First, I’d like to give some credit to Ann Cameron.  It was unusual in 1980 for a white woman to chose to write a book about middle class black children.  (Keep in mind this was less than 20 years since The Snowy Day.)  And generally speaking, her books still hold relevance today and I haven’t spotted any major issues in the ones I’ve read.

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Review: Gloria’s Way

“My dad was supposed to take care of me, but I didn’t know if he could.” page 83

Gloria’s Way by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Lis Toft.
Puffin, Penguin Putnam books for Young Readers, New York, 2001.
Realistic fiction short stories, 96 pages.
Lexile:  600L  .
AR Level:  3.1 (worth 1.0 points)  .
NOTE: Technically part of the Julian/Huey/Gloria series, but could stand alone.

Six short stories about Gloria, best friends with Julian Bates and his little brother Huey.

Gloria's Way

Some of the stories in this collection include Julian, Huey, their dog Spunky, or new friend Latisha while others focus on Gloria.  As I usually do with short stories, I’ll briefly discuss each individual story.

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Review: Gloria Rising

“Maybe the people in line behind us thought Dr. Street and I were mother and daughter having a serious conversation, because they left some space around us.” page 13

Gloria Rising by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Lis Toft.
Stepping Stones, Random House Children’s Books, 2002.
Realistic fiction, 98 pages.
Lexile:  640L  .
AR Level:  3.9 (worth 1.0 points)  .
NOTE: Technically part of the Julian/Huey/Gloria series, but works as a stand-alone.

Before the start of fourth grade, Gloria has an unexpected encounter with a celebrity astronaut who looks like her and answers all her questions about space!  But at school, her teacher doesn’t believe she met Dr. Street, and worse, thinks she’s a troublemaker.

Gloria Rising

I got this book at the dollar store back when I first started reading diverse.  That was part of the reason that I grabbed it, as was the cover.  A young black girl in space with an onion?  So many questions.  I regret to inform you that this book is not science fiction (as the cover would indicate).  However, it’s still worth reading!

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