This family-life book in the "Amber Brown" series by Paula Danziger is published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.
Amber Brown Is Feeling Blue is written for kids ages 8 to 11. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Amber Brown's dad has lived in Paris since her parents' divorce — but now he's moving back to town. Amber has two things to look forward to: his return and a Thanksgiving trip to Walla Walla, Wash., with her mom and mom's boyfriend, Max. In a phone conversation with her dad, Amber learns he was planning for the two of them to spend Thanksgiving together. Now Amber must choose which parent to be with over the holiday, and the agonizing decision complicates every aspect of her life.
Amber's mother and Max are attentive, loving parental figures. Amber's father, who has been living abroad, calls frequently — and he seems to be moving back to the States to be near her. While Amber's mom and dad clearly adore her, they place their young daughter in a highly awkward, stressful position by arguing in front of her and making her choose between them.
Other Belief Systems
Ms. Danziger, Amber's teacher, explains how the Pilgrims called themselves the Saints and everyone else the Strangers. Amber comments, “I'm not sure I like the way the Pilgrims labeled the people who weren't them.” Since the Saints and Strangers have no direct bearing on the plot of Amber's story, a reader may wonder why the information was inserted at all, especially when nothing positive or respectful is included about the Pilgrims.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Amber had a difficult decision to make.
What are some ways you handle tough choices?
- To whom can you go for help or advice when you have a tough decision to make?
- Children of divorced parents may also benefit from additional discussions concerning how they feel about divorce and their parents' current relationship.
Were you ever put in a situation where you had to choose between two parents?
How did you feel and handle it?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.