Author: Tiffany M.
What I found significant about Tiffany M. Brown's ambitious children's picture book Gallery Eleven Twenty-Two is that it offers several themes that make for great discussion topics for children ages 5-9. In addition, the story is also highly amplified with Wendy Sefcik's stunning illustrations that actively furthers the narrative. These colorful images energetically partner with the yarn creating the necessary visual support and consequently bringing the children as well as their familiar buoyancy to the page.
The opening lines of the story sets the tone wherein Brown introduces us to Isabella E. Austin who informs us that she is a student at a multicultural enrichment school, Andover School of the Arts and Academic Excellence.
She points out the differences among her friends, nonetheless, as she states: “we are also alike.” Isabella also emphasizes how fortunate she is to have the opportunity to attend a school with such beautiful surroundings and one with plenty of resources as she realizes that many children are wanting in basic needs.
What follows next is the school's competition wherein the students are asked to submit their good ideas into a box. The winner will be required to give a speech about his or her idea. Isabella is determined to make a difference in the world and recounts from her own experiences how her father was laid off from his job which meant that her family had to pull together and tighten their belts. It is this learning experience that provided her with the impetus to convince her classmates to work together in making the world a better place to live in. Isabella is chosen for her bighearted idea which leads to the creation of a gallery where the children could sell their arts and crafts and donate their profits to help children less fortunate.
There is much to like about this book, particularly its easy-to-follow storyline as Brown cleverly uses her sensitivity and a fearless eye to explore several themes that can easily be discussed with children at story time. Although these themes may be quite challenging on an intellectual level, they are nonetheless worthy topics to think about such as: in spite of cultural differences, we are also alike; fear of speaking in public; a parent's loss of his or her job; making a difference in the world; no matter how bad things may appear, there are people who are worse off; using your imagination and not being afraid to take risks; many children do not have what they need; working together as a team; teaching children if they could dream something, they could do it; becoming creative and following your heart; and the value of philanthropy.
Brown 's principal
character is well-defined and credible. The chapters are
well-organized and easy to read and, moreover, she respects her young
readers and never resorts to brainwashing or preaching as she
presents her ideas with clarity and a positive viewpoint permitting
her readers to be able to digest the material and make up their own