The Children’s Book Review | July 2, 2019
Written by Luz Agudelo
Illustrated by Andres Restrepo
Age Range: 7-10
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Self-Published(June 20, 2019)
What to Expect: Bullying, Speaking Out, and Rhyme
Out Loud: June’s Venture is an illustrated, rhyming chapter book about learning to fit in within your own skin, speaking out, and breaking the cycle of hate and bullying.
A school art competition to build a sand castle is taking place along the shoreline. When June’s peers group up into teams, June finds herself alone. Bill, who likes to gloat to empower himself, taunts her and steps on her castle. Told to ignore him and to toughen up and not to complain, she begins to blame herself and falls into a “poor me” funk. A caring kid named Jonas spots the bullying:
“So, after June fled to hide from the crowd’s nosy sight,
Jonas followed her to a rocky shore site,
where he caught up to her and said, “Hi,”
to let her know he was her ally.”
With some space to breathe, the pair relax until they hear what sounds like a cry for help. They follow the sound and see a worn-out sign that states “Trash-Monster. Beware!” Here they discover that Trash-Monster has taken a gull against its will. When the pair speak up to let the monster know that bullying is unacceptable, the monster only gets more brazen. The kids must learn the power of speaking out if they are to empower Gull to do the same. By doing so, they could also help Trash-Monster to “show a bit of grit to quit” the bullying cycle. The experience with Gull and Trash-Monster is a teachable moment that comes full circle when June and Jonas encounter Bill at the end of their day.
While this rhyming tale focuses on June, it also clearly showcases three different perspectives that readers will be able to connect with: the bullied (June), the bully (Bill), and the bystander (Jonas). Sometimes with rhyme, authors are pushed to find just the right word to keep the flow and context of a story, and this is great for readers learning new vocabulary (smile/guile and care/despair are two examples that can be found in this story). The text and type rests on lines as splashes of digital and colorful watercolor doodles are placed around the stanzas to enhance the storyline. The book’s design and layout will appeal to kids who love diary format books.
Out Loud: June’s Venture is a helpful tale for those looking to share a well-defined anti-bullying message.
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About the Author
Luz Agudelo grew up in the tiny town of Zaragoza, Colombia. As a young girl she spent hours upon hours in the town library and loved writing plays for her classmates to perform. For a time Luz was an au-pair in Wilmington, NC. During her stay, she enjoyed drawing, coloring and cutting out characters in order to make up stories with her host children. While earning her B.A. in psychology at Florida International University (FIU) and volunteering with AmeriCorps, Luz wrote the first draft of Out Loud. Recently, she decided to dust off her old manuscript and reconnect with her passion for writing stories. Luz currently lives in Miami with her husband and six-rescued cat companions.
You can follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/luza_outloud/
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. This non-biased review of “Pirates and Spooks, Beware!” was sponsored* by Luz Agudelo. Learn more about getting a book review …