Dream on, Amber / Emma Shevah ; illustrations by Helen Crawford-White.

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  • Additional Information
    • Abstract:
      Summary: Amber's Japanese father left when she was little, and her sister Bella was just a baby, so now she fills in the frustrating gap in her life with imagined conversations, and writes letters to Bella that seem to come from their father.
    • Notes:
      "Originally published as Dream on, Amber in 2014 in Great Britain by the Chicken House."--T.p. verso.
    • ISBN:
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Booklist Reviews 2015 July #1

*Starred Review* Almost-12-year-old Amber Miyamoto hates germs, loves to draw, and can't figure out why her father left 6 years ago. She is also half Italian and half Japanese, which makes her feel "mixed up like a salad" and isn't helping with her anxiety over starting middle school. Other things bothering her include Bella, her little sister; having a "cavewoman" phone that doesn't have Internet access; the swirling black hole inside her where her dad should be; maybe liking a boy; and being targeted by a school bully. When Amber has a "genius idea" that goes awry, she has to learn to confront her fears and mistakes in order to regain control of her life. Shevah's debut novel is a charmer, and it not only supplies some much-needed diversity to the middle-grade fiction scene but also addresses the emotional impact of living in a single-parent home. Amber's amusing self-awareness, imagination, and drawings keep the tone light, and her true-to-life tween concerns (e.g., existing in an Instagram and WhatsApp dead zone, hating Justin Bieber) will resonate with many. While its humor and illustrations lend it Wimpy Kid appeal, its emotional depth makes it stand out from the pack. Molto bene! Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Fall

Though she barely remembers him, eleven-year-old Amber Miyamoto (half-Italian, half-Japanese) misses her dad, who abandoned the family when she was six. With a mix of humor and heartache, Amber's lively narrative in this British import describes her attempts--one successful and one less so--to make up for his absence. Amusing doodles decorate the pages of the art-loving middle schooler's story.

PW Reviews 2015 August #2

Charismatic 11-year-old Ambra Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto finds it confusing to be of both Italian and Japanese descent, and it's "molto embarrassing" to have five names that draw attention to her differences—she'd prefer to stick to Amber. What's more, her Japanese father abandoned the family years earlier, leaving Amber and her younger sister, Bella, with unresolved anger and longing. Middle school is going to be tough, so Amber creates an imaginary father to confide in and tries to lift Bella's spirits by sending her faux letters from their father, who she pretends is a secret agent ("When all my missions are over, I might be able to come back. I might not though, so don't get all excited or anything"). Crawford-White's margin doodles (stars, confetti, swirls, etc.) and a smattering of Italian and Japanese words (including chapter numbers written in English, Italian, and Japanese) further enliven Shevah's debut. Amber's effervescent and opinionated narration captivates from the start, making it easy to root for her as she strives to conquer the "beast" of her worries and thrive at home and at school. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)

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