The Bookworm ($9.95, Karadi Tales, Ages 5 and up) is a story about an Indian boy named, Sesha, who loves to read. In fact he has his head in a book so often that other children his age rarely see his face. His classmates tease him and laugh at him every day, and they even write a song about him. . .
“Strange silent Sesha, his nose in his book,
Doesn’t give anyone else a look,
Bet his mum doesn’t know what his face looks like,
Bet his dad hasn’t seen him since he was a little tyke! . . .”
Sesha just keeps to himself and tries to ignore the comments and giggles of the others. He’d rather read and write down his thoughts in his little brown notebook he takes with him everywhere. Well one rainy day, some bullies in his class trip Sesha, causing him and his precious notebook to fall to the ground and get all muddy. Those bullies laugh and laugh, and naturally this is traumatizing for poor Sesha. But later in class something happens that makes the other students – including the bullies - realize that Sesha has something important they wish they had.
I absolutely love the glorious collage and ultra colorful watercolor illustrations by Shilo Shiv Suleman, and thoroughly enjoyed how much they enhance this story.
Stories about nerdy kids and bullies are not uncommon. But this picture book is unique in that it broaches the subject of bullying to the youngest readers without preaching. Rather, through carefully selected prose by author LaVanya R.N., the youngest readers are able to relate to the protagonist and learn that it is wrong to tease others for being different. Even better yet, this book shows us all that being smart and well-read is a powerful thing.
In the end of this book, guess who has the last laugh?
-Reviewed by Debbie Glade.