June Peters, You Can Change the World

Written by Alika Turner

Illustrated by Naafi Nr


June Peters is a ten year old fifth grader who is responsible and independent. She feels stifled by the fact that her parents don’t allow her to walk to school by herself. June convinces them to give her a chance, so they agree to try it for one week. On the very first day, June meets a homeless man and decides to give him her lunch money. Her parents and older brother chide her for talking to strangers and explain that not all people are as innocent as they seem. June cannot shake the feeling that helping those in need is a greater reward so she continues to press the issue with her family. They volunteer to help her cause, but insist that she place herself in a safe environment. June gathers family and friends to contribute by making lunches for the homeless and distributing them in a local park. She is able to fulfill the homeless man’s prophecy that, “You will do great things one day.”

This book is targeted for children in the five to twelve age range. Story is most appropriate for children who are ages seven to ten. The illustrations are bright, bold and multicultural, portraying June’s brown family and the local community members. There is a bit of a disconnect between the full page picture book illustrations and the plot which addresses homelessness. Certainly the aspect of not talking to strangers and the issue of desiring to help others is one that should be addressed with younger children as well, yet the illustrations may be seen as babyish to older readers. I look forward to learning more about the independent and intelligent June Peters in the future.

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