One Word from Sophia
Author: Jim Averbeck
Illustrator: Yasmeen Ismail
Published June 16th, 2015 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Summary: Sophia tries varied techniques to get the giraffe she wants more than anything in this playfully illustrated story about the nuances of negotiation.
Sophia has one true desire for her birthday. But she has Four Big Problems in the way: Mom, Dad, Uncle Conrad…and Grand-mama.
Will her presentations, proposals, and pie charts convince them otherwise?
Turns out, all it takes is one word.
Ricki’s Review: As teachers, we are always asking students to expand their ideas and add detail. To be perfectly honest, I never taught brevity, and this is reflected in my constant battle to stay under word counts! This text will open up valuable conversations about how we can use a variety of methods to persuade our audience. Sometimes, being direct and brief is the best route. It might be confusing to kids who constantly hear the opposite, so I would work with students to analyze this text. I loved the way the author integrated great vocabulary words. Along with those words (which he defined), there are other great words for students to grapple with. I would read this text with my students to help them with the language. I had a lot of fun reading this text, and I think kids will love it, too.
Kellee’s Review: This is a book that adults will find funny and kids will connect with because they all want something. I enjoyed the introduction to the cast of characters and how Sophia changed her speech depending on who she was speaking to. It shows the importance of audience when speaking or writing. I also loved the way that each character had a very set personality which was showed in their behaviors, words, and looks.
I really love the artwork of One Word. The crazy lines and paints mixed with pencil really add character to the book. I liked the facial expressions, as well. This really added to the characterization within the book.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might consider using this book to introduce a persuasive writing book or to teach a lesson about audience. The students can discuss the different ways they might persuade their audience and how they have to consider what is and isn’t appropriate for the task.
- Free Skype visits with Jim to support the diversity initiative (Thanks, Jim!):
- A video for SOPHIA
- SOPHIA is being used for an initiative to promote diverse books
- SOPHIA being used in high school AP English classes
- Downloadable Teacher’s Guide: http://www.
- Reading Group Guide
Discussion Questions: Why must we always consider our audience when we write? In what ways does Sophia try to persuade her audience? What works in the end, and why?; Which method would have worked best to persuade you?
Read This If You Loved: I Wanna Iguanna by Karen Kaufman Orloff, Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book by Richard Scarry, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
**Thank you to Jen Vincent for hosting the blog tour and to Atheneum Books for providing copies for review!**