Fourth grade teacher Anne Leache from Lawton Elementary School in Magnolia recently wrote to The Seattle Times with a selection of her students’ book reviews. After assigning a book report for which her students had to act as critics, she sent along three of the best.

Truly, how could we refuse?

With minor edits for in-house style, here are their reviews — including the story of three Black sisters near the end of the civil rights movement, a biography of Seattle icon Bruce Lee and a lively review of a “Rip and Red” story.

“One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia

Reviewed by Talia Wilson

“One Crazy Summer” is about three African American sisters, Delphine (11), Vonetta (9), Fern (7), who took a trip in the summer of 1968 from Brooklyn, New York, to Oakland, California, to meet their birth mother, hoping to form a relationship with the woman who left them when they were young.

We learn relationships are hard and that sometimes you need a community to help raise a family. In the book, the community that helped raise the sisters was the Black Panther Party.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Black identity who wants to go beyond the “basics” taught in school. I would also recommend this book to people who want to know more about the Black Panther Party.

I would not recommend this book to people who are not open-minded about other cultures.


“Who Was Bruce Lee?” by Jim Gigliotti

Reviewed by Everett Austin

This book is about the action-packed, exciting life of the global movie star and martial-arts hero Bruce Lee. As a kid he was a rebel, always getting into fights and trouble at school. When he grew up, Lee became a martial artist known to people everywhere after starting his acting career on his own TV show [“The Green Hornet”], which crossed over with other TV shows like “Batman” all the time!

I recommend this book for people who like reading facts about famous people’s lives. I think this because this book tells you about a lot of things people don’t know about, like the fact that Bruce Lee was a martial artist when he was 10 years old! Or that Bruce Lee could move so fast it looked like he had teleported!

I would not recommend this book for someone who doesn’t like great, action-packed books.

“A Whole New Ballgame” by Phil Bildner

Reviewed by Michael Joos

“A Whole New Ballgame” by Phil Bildner is a very good book.

It is about two friends named Rip and Red. When they enter fifth grade, they get a surprise: a new teacher! The new teacher’s name is Mr. Acevedo. Mr. Acevedo does not believe in worksheets and refers to tests as “the t-word.”

The one thing Rip and Red are looking forward to is basketball. When Rip and Red go to tryouts, they have two surprises. One, the gym is packed with kids! Two, the new coach is Mr. Acevedo! This is a big surprise for both Rip and Red!


Mr. Acevedo doesn’t care about winning, just good sportsmanship, he claims. But Mr. Acevedo does say one thing about winning: “We will win this season, I guarantee it.” Rip and Red aren’t so sure about that, though.

Rip and Red don’t worry about the tryouts. They both know they are going to make the team. I can’t tell you any more since that would spoil it. I can tell you one little thing though. This book is the best book I’ve read since July 15, 2019!

I think that people who are human should read this book since it is fun, awesome and, all in all, a great book.

I thing that people who live on Mars should not read this book since it is so good that their brains would explode and that would be the end of them.

What I’m trying to say is that you can’t dislike this book.