Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review of "The Greatest Gift of All" by Chandra Sparks Taylor

The Greatest Gift of All
Author: Chandra Sparks Taylor
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (July 26, 2011)
ISBN-13: 978-1463650209

About the book

Ten-year-old Destini Daniels is so over foster care. After years of staying with an aunt she barely knows, she’s ready for a change. With a little help, Destini devises the perfect scheme to get her forever family, but when things don’t go according to plan, does she have to give up her dream, or is it a chance at a gift bigger than she ever imagined?
 
My Thoughts:

This heartwarming tale of a 10-year-old foster child who dreams of being adopted by the perfect family and living in the perfect home. Destini focuses on wanting everything she doesn't have, and at times those things are unrealistic - but for a 10-year-old who says dreams need to be realistic?

Destini finds that as time goes on, the things she dreamed of were going to come true, but not without a price. As realism rears it's cruel head, she learns some heartbreaking lessons and finds that life and love are different than one plans.

This book should be read by all tweens as it gives a look at the foster care system and how children feel being part of it. The emotional feelings of being displaced and unwanted are well illustrated and makes me feel that the author has had some personal experience with the system.

Don't worry about being overly bogged down with emotions. There are some really happy and warm "fuzzy" parts that balance this out nicely. My only complaint is that the is a focus on materialism. Yes, I do understand that children in the system wish for many things that they don't have - but I think some things were a bit overdone (Of course, this comes from an adult point of view).  
 

About the Author:

Chandra Sparks Taylor is the author of Spin It Like That, which was chosen as a 2009 Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association, as well as The Pledge, which is a 2010 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and The Promise.

She is the owner of Taylor Editorial Service, which specializes in editing manuscripts by both aspiring and established authors, and is a frequent workshop presenter and speaker. Her clients have included several New York Times and Essence bestselling authors. In addition to working for Kensington Publishing as the consulting editor for Arabesque romance, Taylor has also done work for Random House, Moody Publishers, Kimani Press (formerly known as BET Books), and Hyperion. She is a contributing editor for Hope for Women magazine and has also worked for Good Housekeeping, Brides Noir, Weddingpages, Newsday, The Morning Call and Romantic Times.

With anything she writes, Taylor’s goal is to give readers a real message to which they can relate and apply to the reality of their lives. Her desire is to be the voice of the next generation and to be a shining example of Psalm 71:18: Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

To find out more about Taylor, visit her online at www.chandrasparkstaylor.com or www.facebook.com/booksbychandrasparkstaylor



Provided through the First Reads Program for my honest review.

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