Reaching Kids With Stories So They Can Be All They Can Be With The ‘I Am Jack’ Books
By Susanne Gervay
Families are a mix-master lot these days, with stepparents, grandparents, single mothers, blends of all sorts. Kids and families manage with some wins, fun and games, and challenges.
The ‘I Am Jack’ books take young people, parents and teachers into a real home, real neighbourhood and right through the school gates. Everyone feels in familiar territory as Susanne Gervay invites readers inside Jack’s life.
Inspired by her son, and her own mix-master family with a ‘rough diamond’ stepdad who blows up the barbecue, a waddling Nanna, a sister who loves dogs, a star-jumping Mum who’s doing her best to manage, and then there’s Jack.
Jack’s your kid, friend, neighbour. He’s the boy who plays soccer, football or surfs with your children. He tells terrible jokes like many dads, uncles, brothers, takes great photos and helps his sister with her endless dog projects.
Life shifts as Jack faces the hurly-burly of relationships, expectations, family changes.
Relating to a story, being emotionally engaged can facilitate empathy, understanding and open pathways to positive life choices. The ‘I Am Jack’ books invite children to engage in story, empathising with situations that they may not have experienced; providing reassurance that other people experience the same problems; opening discussions with family; as they journey with Jack, his family and community.
Author Aleesah Darlison – Review Sun Herald states:
“How does Gervay deal with so many issues in relatively short children’s books? The answer is that she treads lightly. Jack is Gervay’s vehicle for spreading words of wisdom but at no time does she preach. Eternally, Jack and his story remain wholly believable. Readers will not only empathise with Jack but love his sensitive introspection and his wisecracks designed to alternately entertain and annoy his family. “
‘I Am Jack’ navigates bullying, blended families, literacy, the cyber world and the many challenges in life. ‘Being Jack’ is the final book in the ‘I Am Jack’ series. It takes Jack from victim to victor to the kid who stands beside others.
The ‘I Am Jack’ books use humour and identifiable family, school and community situations to involve young readers with problem solving and life skills as they enter adolescence.
Confident readers will read the books alone. For reluctant readers, a parent reading aloud captures their attention and engenders excitement about the following chapters and story.
Young people read differently to adults. They will read and re-read books they relate to, bookmark favourite sections and re-visit them again and again. Jack and his mix master community become fellow travellers with readers as they search for answers; question situations; develop critical thinking; and make choices.
In a special Benefit for Room to Read which takes literacy to the children of the developing world, there will be a performance of ‘I Am Jack’ the play and launch of ‘Being Jack’ at 5- 7 p.m. Saturday 23rd August at Darling Quarter Theatre Darling Harbour.
About Susanne Gervay OAM
An educational consultant and acclaimed children’s author, ‘Susanne Gervay is rare in her ability to place common problems for children within the spectrum of normal family life… she makes it OK for the children to talk about them.’ The Weekend Age, Literary Review Section. The ‘I Am Jack’ series published HarperCollins include: ‘I Am Jack’, ‘Super Jack’, ‘Always Jack’ and ‘Being Jack’ to be released for Book Week 2014.