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Nina the Neighborhood Ninja Paperback – November 22, 2016
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Sonia Panigrahy saw that girls of color had few heroes like them represented in children's literature. Sonia has now published a beautiful book that fills that void. It's one that will have a real impact for the children who read it.
An inspiring and motivational book for young children.
Midwest Book Review, Children's Bookwatch: March 2017
From the Author
Read more at soniapanigrahy.com
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Nina the Neighborhood Ninja aims to reach little girls at an early age, right where they live, with missions they can understand. The story begins with an adorable little African American girl, sporting a "Princess Leia" inspired hairstyle, wearing a homemade cape, a yellow t-shirt with a single, red heart in the center and a skirt. This is Nina (the Ninja). She helps where help is needed even when doing requires personal sacrifice. The actions of a true super-hero. Throughout this story, she makes her way through the neighborhood, with her sidekick, Fiona the Firefly assisting a baby bird that fell out of the nest, a scared stray cat with no shelter from the storm and a little turtle family stuck in the sandbox. Each rescue is beautifully detailed in the accompanying drawing. The book ends with Nina inviting the reader to be a super-hero too.
The story is interesting, fun and empowering. This is girl power from cover to cover. Nina is Smart, Strong and Speedy. All necessary characteristics for any super-hero. But more importantly, the characteristics we want to instill in our little girls. The drawing at the end shows kids that look very different from each other (with animals intermingled), holding hands around the world. A subtle, yet powerful way to say - it doesn't matter what you look like, you can be a super-hero too. Nina and Fiona are like Batman and Robin. Best friends that count on each other, help each other and work together to help others. A good story that follows a logical path ...long enough for kids to unwind... short enough to read in one sitting. The dialogue is delivered in the third person narrative (no rhyming.) The wording is age appropriate. The font is attractive, appealing to the eye, with letters that are easily recognized by those just learning to read. Repetitive prose is a popular learning device, for some it is irritating. Thus taking away from their ability to enjoy the story. The latter was true for us.
"Nina the Ninja" is repeated twenty times in forty-three pages. (Half of those pages are drawings.) By page ten my granddaughter huffed every time I read it. She asked me "Nana, why do you keep saying Nina the Ninja?" I told her because that's what the book says. When I re-read the story, changing the wording to either, Nina or simply she, my granddaughter enjoyed the story much more.
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