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Elizabeth Atkinson's I, Emma Freke Reviewed By Lois Henderson of Bookpleasures.com
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Lois C. Henderson

Reviewer Lois C. Henderson: Lois is a freelance academic editor and back-of-book indexer, who spends most of her free time compiling word search puzzles for tourism and educative purposes. Her puzzles are available HERE and HERE Her Twitter account (@LoisCHenderson) mainly focusses on the toponymy of British place names. Please feel welcome to contact her with any feedback at LoisCourtenayHenderson@gmail.com.





 
By Lois C. Henderson
Published on February 3, 2011
 


Author: Elizabeth Atkinson
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
ISBN: 978-0-7613-5604-2
 
For anyone who has ever felt out of place growing up, I, Emma Freke is an absolute treat.


 
 
Author: Elizabeth Atkinson
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
ISBN: 978-0-7613-5604-2

Click Here To Purchase I, Emma Freke (Exceptional Reading & Language Arts Titles for Intermediate)
 
For anyone who has ever felt out of place growing up, I, Emma Freke is an absolute treat. The novel starts with the central character, Emma, feeling totally out of sync with her world, a world that she shares with her bohemian and irresponsible mom, who is a single mother, and her maternal grandfather, an Italian immigrant known as Nonno (whose nickname for her is Emma-roni). Her only friend is a Liberian, Penelope, who was adopted by a lesbian couple whom Penelope calls the “Grey Moms because they both had gray hair and looked more like grandmothers than mothers.” Emma spends all her spare time looking after her mom’s bead shop. As a keen organizer, she thrives on the sense of responsibility that doing so nurtures in her. If she is not sorting beads into their right compartments, Emma is forever making lists: “What You Need to Be an Adult”, “How to Sound Normal” and “Which Subjects are Off-Limits with Donatella”, among others. In fact, one could almost swear that she suffers from OCD—that is, until one day she goes off to attend a family reunion that is so strictly run that she rebels against the rules and makes friends with a cousin who is hiding away in a cabin in the adjoining woods.
 
Despite (or perhaps because of) the eccentric and idiosyncratic behavior of many of the characters that populate I, Emma Freke, a great deal of down-home common sense fills these pages, so that reading them is not only an enjoyable but also an enlightening experience. Although aimed at a pre-teen audience, baby boomers who grew up in the 1960s are just as likely to enjoy this unconventional and stimulating tale. The characters, no matter how ostensibly whacky they are, are well-rounded and thoroughly credible. The pioneering spirit of both the female and male protagonists are likely to hold great appeal for any youngster who thinks outside the box and who has difficulty with conforming to the expectations of a norm-driven society.
 
No stranger to small town life, Elizabeth was raised in the town of Harvard, a cozy New England village in central Massachusetts. As well as working as a freelance writer for the past two decades, Elizabeth has taught English Literature, as well as worked as a children’s librarian and co-executive director of a local arts foundation. Her debut middle grade novel, From Alice to Zen & Everyone in Between, was included in the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of 2009. I, Emma Freke has been awarded the Gold Moonbeam Medal for Pre-teen Fiction, as well as having been nominated for a number of other prestigious awards.
 
 
Click Here To Purchase I, Emma Freke (Exceptional Reading & Language Arts Titles for Intermediate)