Jennifer Andrew – Reviewer
Princess Onyx: Precious Gems
Author: Clarissa Burton
Book Reviewer: Jennifer Andrew
Princess Onyx is a children’s book that is about an African-American girl named Jaydah who comes from school very upset because a boy in her school made fun of the color of her skin. Her grandmother eases her mind by telling her a story that reflects the situation her grand-daughter experienced. The story is about a princess who is sheltered by her royal parents from playing with the other kids in the courtyard. When the parents finally give the princess permission to play with the other kids, the princess is surprised to find out that the kids are mean to another child of the same color as her own skin.
Surprised and upset by the kids behavior, she refuses to play with the children and decides instead to bring the rejected girl back to the palace with her to play. The grandmother was trying to tell Jaydah that although some people may be mean, there is no reason to be mean to them back because how you treat people is what’s important. Sometimes children learn the wrong lessons from parents, peers and other people around them and the best thing is to treat people the way you would like to be treated yourself. People can learn to do the right thing, from your own good behavior.
The cover entices people to want to buy the book as it is a pretty pastel color and the format is typical of a children’s book. With its 35 pages, large and colorful illustrations, easy to read and understandable wording, Princess Onyx is an entertaining story with an important message.
I believe the story depicts two messages. One message is family unity and you can see that by the way the grandmother comforts her granddaughter as soon as she sees her upset. The second message the story is depicting is the issue of racism and how to deal with it on a child-like manner. Children’s feelings can be hurt and scarred for life but by providing understanding by a parent or adult figure, the children can be made to feel confident with self-respect. Many books for children have messages that should be learned but not many deal with this type of issue, which is still present in our society. Youth who had to grow up in adversity didn’t have books such as Princess Onyx on the book shelves because it was a taboo so it is very refreshing to live in a time where all genres and subjects can be displayed.
The book is for school-age children and it is a good depiction of some issues that face them at school. Being put down by just the color of your skin makes children feel like they don’t belong or feel as if they aren’t the same as the other children. Books like Princess Onxy are not afraid to deal with these issues and bring them to light. I believe that this book is not just for African-American children but for children of all walks of life, because the message is important for everyone to learn. Parents will enjoy reading it to their kids at bedtime and family time. At the back of the book, there is a list of more books by the author so you get an opportunity to enjoy more of her work.
Freelance writer / Book Reviewer