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Randa Handler’s Books Summaries: (for ages 6-9 even though can be read to younger)
Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot, Book One: Synopsis
Three multiracial seven-year-old boys with difficult backgrounds befriend a special being, Cubbie Blue. Cubbie and his tiny dog Dot have accidently come to their area from an enchanted part of Antarctica. Even though Cubbie is only three inches tall and therefore appears vulnerable, he has supernatural powers; from highly evolved skills in telepathy, to making himself invisible, to even stopping time and the uncanny ability to only see things in a positive light.
Throughout the series, this new friendship leads to important discoveries for both the boys and Cubbie. In addition to being flown over cities in a magical bubble and exploring realms near and far, Cubbie and Dot learn the true meaning of friendship and how to solve small and big problems while feeling protected in their scary new environment. The bond between them proves that sometimes unlikely allies are found among beings who seem to have the greatest differences. In subsequent books, the tiny creatures are irresistible vehicles for conveying subtle messages, about rights and wrongs while at the same time providing entertaining interludes. Future topics will include but are not limited to abuse, bullying, protecting the environment, and recognizing true friendship. With the children’s help, Cubbie Blue is scheduled to go home in the series final installment.
What’s Up With Mike? Cubbie Book 2
Derek, Chris, and Brian, three 7-year-old boys, befriend Derek’s new neighbor, Mike, who is blind. Cubbie, a 3-inch-tall special being with supernatural powers, and his dog Dot help the boys learn about Mike’s limitations and needs. This important knowledge allows the boys to properly welcome Mike to the neighborhood. In turn, the boys help Cubbie escape from the evil soldiers trying to capture him, and he is saved thanks to their bravery.
If I Were King, (Congratulations Randa on winning Mom’s Choice Award!)
Summary: One rainy day in the jungle, unlikely friends—Zebra, Lion, Leopard, Giraffe, Monkey, Elephant and Chameleon—gather to lament how similar their daily activities are. Zebra’s imagination and fun-loving nature convinces the other animals to escape their mundane lives by pretending they are king. Playing this game teaches them about their many differences and, more importantly, their own likes and dislikes. Zebra, upon discovering this information, realizes that it’s okay not to always want to play with other zebras as long as she listens to her inner voice and yields when it warns her of dangers and cautions her to maintain clear boundaries. Immediately she learns that Lion can stop being her friend when he’s angry or hungry.
The Boy Who Spoke to God, (Congratulations Randa! Boy Who Spoke To God keeps hitting top 100 bestsellers around the holidays!)
Summary: Unable to agree on their ideas about God and religious celebrations, four different ethnic tribes—Greeks, Chinese, Zulus, and Mayans—who live together harmoniously most of the year, combining aspects of each of their cultures to make their kingdom strong and prosperous, suddenly become divisive when religious holidays approach. During such times, they cannot agree on the timing or manner of religious traditions, and they each have their own god who looks and dresses as they do. When Niko, a young Greek boy, has several dreams of God, each tribe interprets the various details of his dreams according to its own view of God, further emphasizing the tribes’ differences in beliefs. Subsequently Niko is shunned for having created even more disharmony and for lying to the tribes, or so they think, as no one believes he dreamed of God. To clear up all the confusion and arrive at the truth, Niko begs God to manifest in one final dream. This time God shows him that the tribes’ beliefs are actually different expressions of the same god. Niko concludes that God is like colorless and formless iridescent light and the beliefs of all tribes about their gods are correct as these gods are like colors of the rainbow that derive from white light.
The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter (Congratulations Randa for Thanksgiving Platter to hit top teens bestsellers every year and for people using its cover as a Thanksgiving card!)
Summary: It’s 1941, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt has just made Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States. Takari ‘s family is coming from near and far to celebrate together. While helping her mother prepare Thanksgiving dinner eight-year-old Takari breaks a platter that belonged to her Japanese grandmother. The platter had been an important part of her father’s family heritage, used traditionally by Takari’s grandmother to serve chestnut rice on the Japanese day of thanksgiving. Angry, her mother shoos her away, telling her to go visit her best friend, Little Sparrow, whose family is Native American. He is making a special cornbread just like the one served at the first Thanksgiving dinner eaten by the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth Plantation. In the process, Takari learns about the history of the holiday and that a similar day of gratitude, when people give thanks for their blessings, exists in many countries including in her father’s homeland, Japan.