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“Stacey thought that words understood her better than people did. When she sat by herself during recess, they never teased her about being quiet. Or about being clumsy when she fell. Or awkward when the joke in her head came out wrong.” –Stacey’s Extraordinary Words
Stacey’s Extraordinary Words
by Stacey Abrams
AR Test, Must Read
Stacey is a little girl who loves words more than anything. She loves reading them, sounding them out, and finding comfort in them when things are hard.
But when her teacher chooses her to compete in the local spelling bee, she isn’t as excited as she thought she’d be. What if she messes up? Or worse, if she can’t bring herself to speak up, like sometimes happens when facing bullies at school?
Stacey will learn that win or lose . . . her words are powerful, and sometimes perseverance is the most important word of all.
Stacey’s Extraordinary Words is a fabulous story that introduces readers to new words by showing a protagonist who loves words. Stacey “adored fun words, long words, unusual words. Words with histories and weird combinations.” When Stacey encounters a new word, the definition of the word is included. However, because of the many words that Stacey loves, young readers will need an adult’s help pronouncing difficult words such as ptarmigan, onomatopoeia, persnickety, and perseverance.
Unlike most books, Stacey’s Extraordinary Words doesn’t end with Stacey winning the spelling bee. Instead, the mean boy wins, and he makes fun of Stacey for misspelling a word. Despite the boy’s mean behavior, Stacey “stayed onstage like a good sport as Jake got his trophy and she received her second-place ribbon. Everyone congratulated Jake and so did she.” Through Stacey’s experiences, the reader learns the importance of being a good sport and the importance of perseverance.
While Stacey’s story doesn’t have a happily ever after ending, Stacey learns that “words shouldn’t be used to hurt people.” But the most important part of all is that Stacey learns “new ways to speak up and help others.” The author’s note at the back of the book explains how the story was based on the author’s life experiences.
Stacey’s Extraordinary Words tells an engaging story which is enhanced by the colorful full-page illustrations. When Stacey reads, many of her thoughts appear in the background, allowing readers to understand Staceey’s thought process. Many of the words that Stacy loves appear in large text and use fun fonts. Plus, when Stacey is at school, her classmates are a diverse group of students. In addition, her mother appears in several pages and is always encouraging and loving. Even though the story is a picture book, the pages are text heavy and the pages have as many as seven complex sentences.
The educational and entertainment value of Stacey’s Extraordinary Words makes it a must-read book. Not only will readers learn important life lessons, but they will also enjoy the story and illustrations. The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds is another must-read picture book that features a protagonist who loves words.
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