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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Part of the Realm of Becoming Series, Priyah and the Magic Pen by Madi Franquiz and Kelly Miller is a charming story about talent, friendship, and self-esteem. Priyah is a gifted artist who lets her imagination soar on the pages by drawing different things that strike her imagination. However, she wishes she could be more like her friends. Mahala is a gifted chemist. Henry is a talented poet who gets inspiration from nature. Gus is a brilliant inventor of machines. Fernando is a strong builder of different infrastructures. As Priyah begins to question her self-worth, she begins to lose heart over the sketches that she makes and thinks they are nothing compared to the things that her friends can do. But one by one, her friends will come knocking at her door to ask for her help with problems that they cannot solve by themselves.
Priyah and the Magic Pen is a wonderful little story with a magical journey that gives an important reminder to young readers. Learning that a friend has an edge on a particular thing can make a child feel insecure. It leads to a child questioning their self-worth and diminishes their self-esteem. Madi Franquiz and Kelly Miller focus on this part of growing up by creating two-line verses on every page that, with an economy of rhyming words, say plenty about friendship and comparisons. It is a story that doesn’t preach. Rather, it guides young readers to decide what they want to achieve and how to do it. The magical element in this story emphasizes that each person has a different way of using talent and helping others. Windha Sukmanindya’s vector-style illustrations are appealing. It’s a sweet little tale with a strong and big message that I recommend to parents and teachers as part of their discussion activities with kids.