Friday, November 4, 2016

Just in Time for the Election -- A New Children's Book, Isabella: Girl in Charge - Perfect for Grades K-4 -- Review and Author Interview

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Isabella: Girl in Charge
By Jennifer Fosberry; Illustrated by Mike Litwin
October 4, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4926-4173-5; $16.99 U.S.
Hardcover; Juvenile Fiction/Picture Book
Ages 4–8; Grades K–4

As part of our homeschooling lesson the past couple of weeks, I have been talking to the girls about the upcoming election, and how we elect a President.  To go along with what we were learning, I headed to the local bookstore to see if I could find a handful of books to share with the girls, that wouldn't bore them.  I have to say, it was really hard to find a book perfect for my girls, who are in first grade. About to give up on my search, I had Isabella: Girl in Charge arrive at my door to review.  As I flipped through the pages, I found myself smiling as this was the type of book I was looking for, and it wound up at my doorstep.  How perfect is that!

In addition to being send the book, Isabella: Girl in Charge, to share with my girls, I was also given the opportunity to interview the author, Jennifer Fosberry.  I was excited for this opportunity as my girls and I have been fans of this author, and we have a handful of her other Isabella books. My youngest daughter is named Arabella, but we call her Bella for short.  Whenever she sees one of Jennifer's book arrive at our door, she thinks it is a book just for her, as she sees "Bella" in the title. :-)  So, Bella was extra happy when she saw the new Isabella: Girl in Charge arrive, and couldn't wait to for me to read it to her.

Before I give my thoughts on this book, here is a little background on the book in case you weren't aware of it..

About Isabella: Girl in Charge:

"Just in time for election season comes a new children’s picture book by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Fosberry that celebrates women who were trailblazers in U.S. politics.
Isabella: Girl in Charge follows the purple-haired title character as she imagines herself as five powerful females who broke barriers in American politics in a bid to get her mom and dad out the door for a big event.
The book features some of the amazing women who have made political history, including:
·         Sandra Day O’Connor—first woman appointed to the Supreme Court
·         Frances Perkins—first female Cabinet member (Secretary of Labor)
·         Jeanette Rankin—first woman elected to Congress (Montana)
·         Nellie Tayloe Ross—first female governor (Wyoming)
·         Susanna Madora Salter—first female mayor (Argonia, KS)
At the end of the story, readers will find extended biographies and a timeline of women in U.S. politics. 
Isabella: Girl in Charge is also be available on Put Me In The Story, the #1 personalized book platform in the United States, as if October 3. "
My Thoughts:
Jennifer Fosberry has done it again.  This book is going to be another best seller, and popular book amongst young girls, including my two.  What is so great about this book is that it introduces prominent women in history who had an impact on politics.  While I try to include women in history in our lesson plans, it is hard to find books that really focus on these amazing women.  That is why I love the Isabella series from the author.  

In this book, my girls learned about Sandra Day O'Connor, Jeanette Rankin, Frances Perkins, just to name a few.  And, while I don't expect them to remember these womens' names, I just want them to be aware that women over the years have made significant impacts on our world and in history.  

Both of my girls loved the book, especially the illustrations, which really pull learning about these women in political history together.  Even though we have only had this book a short time, we have been reading it a handful of times.  We even passed it along to a few other homschooling families who were talking about the elections, as a way to teach their kids about these amazing women in political history.
I highly recommend this book, especially if your child is an "Isabella" fan.  It is a perfect addition to your child's growing collection of books from Jennifer Fosberry.  And, it is one book you will read time and again with your child.
As I mentioned above, I had the opportunity to interview the author.  Please enjoy my Author Q&A below.
Meet Jennifer Fosberry...

My Interview with the Author:

o   Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?

Isabella has always been a girl in charge. The books are all about empowerment and being yourself. With the election this year it brought to mind how women participate in US politics. Of course, I know there has never been a female President of the United States of America. But I was not aware of the disparity even in Congress. As I researched this book, it became more apparent that we need more girls in charge.

o   How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?  

I really enjoy the picture book format. I also enjoy that I don't do all the heavy lifting. I create a story and framework and then my illustrator helps me to make that story come to life. The type of synergy that happens in a picture book always amazes me. And it's a lesson for life. We get visual clues all the time and must remember to pay attention to not just what people say but also what they do.

o   Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books? 

There are too many to mention, but I will mention some anyway. Whenever I talk to kids I tell him the first book that I bought with my own money was the Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Right now I'm enjoying reading middle grade fiction because that's the age my kids are and also because I love it.  I enjoy the truthfulness and the adventure in middle grade. That makes for some of the best stories. Also coming of age is just such a visceral memory for so many of us. So right now I'm re-reading the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series with my son. And I'm enjoying it for the second time.

o   What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal? 

Oh, how I wish I could say that I had a pattern, a normal routine. There's nothing typical about my life right now with three kids I balance a lot. So my writing is more bits and pieces when I can fit it in.

o   What is the hardest part of writing for you? 

Did you see the answer above? It's really the same is for so many people finding the time. And putting my writing first.

o   What’s the best thing about being an author? 

They give me a microphone sometimes. No seriously, when I go visit schools they give me a microphone.  I love talking with the kids and sharing the story with them. There's so much energy and hopefulness in our kids. It is wonderful to see it in a group setting.

o   What are you working on now?  

I'm working on the next Isabella book, of course.

o   What advice would you give aspiring writers?  

The best advice I can give you is to find other people at your level. Work together. Share together. Grow together. My writing groups have been invaluable. 

o   What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?  

This has been a very thorough interview. I really can't add anything to it, except to say that I hope everybody likes Isabella.  Thanks for talking with me.


About the Author:

Jennifer Fosberry is a science geek turned bestselling children’s book writer. She is the author of My Name Is Not Isabella (Sourcebooks, 2010), Isabella: Girl on the Go (Sourcebooks, 2012), Isabella: Star of the Story (Sourcebooks, 2013), and My Name Is Not Alexander (Sourcebooks, 2011). After running away to Costa Rica for a few years, she returned to the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and three children to read, write, and try to get out of doing housework. Visit Jennifer at

About the Illustrator:

Mike Litwin is a New York Times bestselling illustrator who creates scenes that serve the imagination and education of children. In other words, he’s a big kid who draws pictures for a living. He currently lives in Greenville, North Carolina, with his wife and three daughters.  Visit Mike at

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.


  1. This looks perfect to explain to my daughters all about how the up coming election works! Since this is a confusing election, it's super difficult to explain how things work to them, but this looks like it will be a great help!

  2. I love how this is educational and cute/exciting to read! The illustrations are fantastic!