“Eliza Jane Finds Her Hero” by Eliza Kelley & Debra Whiting Alexander“Eliza Jane Finds Her Hero” by Eliza Kelley & Debra Whiting Alexander https://www.readerviewskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/ElizaJaneFindsHerHero-663x1024.jpg 663 1024 Reader Views Kids Reader Views Kids https://www.readerviewskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/ElizaJaneFindsHerHero-663x1024.jpg
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Eliza Jane Finds Her Hero
Eliza Kelley & Debra Whiting Alexander
Luminare Press (2023)
Reviewed by Grace Braun for Reader Views (11/2023)
“Eliza Jane Finds Her Hero” by authors Eliza Kelley and Debra Whiting Alexander is inspired by young co-author Eliza Kelley’s life journey with Tourette syndrome and her real-life experiences shared with her horse, Popcorn, and dog, Archie. Furthermore, this is an adventure book starring ten-year-old Eliza Jane, her inner superhero, and a powerful message that truly earns this five-star review.
In the beginning of “Eliza Jane Finds Her Hero,” protagonist, Eliza Jane explains her Tourette Syndrome diagnosis to young readers and introduces the concept of her inner superhero, Tinklelocks. After explaining her reoccurring dream in which she appears as the superhero in her story, Eliza Jane takes her horse to her school playground where she is confronted with bullying due to her Tourette’s and must decide if she should defend a boy on the playground named Jacob. Jacob has tics, just like Eliza Jane, and the book explores their journey of standing up to their bullies while spreading awareness for Tourette’s syndrome, revealing the clear message that it is okay to have differences and that in these differences we develop our unique and special selves. In addition, these differences make life itself an adventure!
I found this book to be very relatable, as my young son has Tourette syndrome like Eliza Jane. I admire authors Eliza Kelley and Debra Whiting Alexander for their beautiful portrayal of Tourette’s and feel they undoubtedly fulfilled their purpose for this publication by maintaining clear goals of Tourette Syndrome awareness and acceptance.
The character and setting descriptions in this book were flawlessly written, with setting descriptions that made me feel as if I were alongside Eliza Jane. For example, in chapter two the authors write:
That morning the sun glimmered everywhere over the small town of Spring Creek. The flowerbeds sparkled with purple tulips, the sky was as blue as bachelor buttons, and the birds exploded up into the sunshine.
In addition to the beautiful setting and character descriptions, the authors did a wonderful job with the plotline, ensuring this adventure was both informative and action-packed.
I enjoyed the character of Eliza Jane’s dog, Archie, as he can talk in the book, but can only be heard by the protagonist. I feel the inclusion of the talking dog is symbolic of Eliza Jane’s dependence on her dog and feeling like he is the only one who truly understands her journey. Symbolism is again portrayed through her horse, Popcorn, who has no eyes but is able to gallop as if he can still see. Through Popcorn, the authors further demonstrated the message of acceptance with the protagonist stating:
‘It’s popcorn’s abilities, not his disability, that make him special.’
Overall, “Eliza Jane Finds Her Hero” is a tremendous story for young readers or parents of those who have Tourette syndrome. Additionally, I think this book would be good for classrooms to explain the concept of Tourette syndrome and spark understanding among children and youth. I would love to see what Eliza Kelley and Debra Whiting Alexander write next, and I hope to find more books about Eliza Jane and her adventures in the near future.
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