Danziger, P. (1994). Amber Brown is Not a Crayon. New York: Puffin Books.
Third grader, Amber Brown has fun in class on a pretend trip to China with her best friend, Justin. But as Justin and his family prepare to move to another state, Amber begins to worry. Making matters worse, Justin refuses to talk about his approaching departure. She, Amber Brown is also dealing with the underlying tension of her parents’ recent divorce.
Amber’s voice feels authentic. Although her character is in the third grade in this book, the story could be shared with a younger reader who is slowly transitioning to longer chapter novels.
And if a student loves it, there's a whole series they can enjoy.
Activities to do with the book:
This is a good series to help transition young readers to chapter books. If a student liked Junie B. Jones (reviewed previously here), this would be a good follow up for slightly older readers since this series has fewer pictures and Amber is a little older. Although, this book would be great for first and second graders. From there, a student could graduate to Ramona Quimby and on.
A teacher could base lessons off of the way Amber’s teacher conducts his lessons. A teacher could have pretend trips to other countries to introduce lessons.
“In just ten minutes, our entire class is getting on a plane for our flight to China.
I, Amber Brown, am one very excited third grader” (p. 5).
“When my parents got a divorce, my dad moved far away, to another country, so I never get to see him and he hardly ever calls” (p. 17).
“Fractions are not my favorite thing.
In fact, they are one of my least favorite things. The only things I hate more are 1) Brussels sprouts, 2) watching kids pick their noses and eat the snot and 3) having people I love leave” (p. 47).