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Because I Lived in Queens

Today’s review is from former Rego Park (Queens, NY) resident, Ronna Mandel.

Because author David Ezra Stein lives in Kew Gardens, Queens, I decided to read and review this wonderful new book, Because Amelia Smiled ($16.99, Candlewick, ages 3-7). And because I lived in Queens and decided to sell a sofa, I met my future husband who just happened to live in the same apartment building and whose friend needed a sofa!  And because I met my husband, we decided to move to Los Angeles where I eventually found work reviewing children’s books.

As Stein says in his jacket flap, “The story of Amelia is bigger than anything that can fit in a book. It’s the story of how we are connected.”  I could not agree more. Perhaps you are as fascinated by the idea of six degrees of separation as I am and if so, you will love sharing this picture book with your children.

Stein effortlessly takes readers on a world tour all because a little girl, Amelia, wore an infectious smile while skipping down the street. That smile just happened to be caught by Mrs. Higgins who was glancing out her window. The results of that single smile continued on to Mrs. Higgins’ grandson Lionel in Mexico, and then to one of his students, a kickboxer named Sensacia Golpes.  Her cousin videotaped the kickboxer and put the video online.  You can probably guess what happened next! Yep, someone in England saw the video and added some new moves to their ballet performance.

You may know Stein from his Caldecott Honor–winning Interrupting Chicken. Here again Stein’s art flows from page to page, person to person, country to country just the way  today’s technological tapestry has brought us all together seamlessly. So, rather than tell the entire story, I suggest you read Because Amelia Smiled  to learn what caused Amelia to grin in the first place and then find out how many people are positively affected by Amelia’s smile, including you! 
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