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Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite
A journey of self-discovery forms the basis of this wonderful first chapter book, I Am Sam, by Rodney James. Sam has always felt different from the rest of his family, resulting in some awkwardness between them. It doesn’t help that he’s a bit clumsy and three times the size of his siblings, although to be fair, Sam is also the best fish catcher in the village. Sam knows that his mother and the rest of his family love him but he’s determined to figure out why he’s different so one day, he says goodbye to his family and sets out on an epic journey to discover who he is. Sam is soon meeting new creatures like owls and lizards along the way but it isn’t until he meets two dogs, George and Harley, whose job it is to guard the local zoo where they live that Sam’s journey comes to an abrupt end…
I Am Sam is a really great book for young children that introduces the concept that not everyone looks the same or acts the same as everyone else. This will obviously raise a host of questions in young children that may be difficult for parents to answer as their children’s innate sense of curiosity and discovery evolves. Rodney James’ book shows children that there are no easy answers and that each one of us is a combination of many elements. I Am Sam also introduces children to a host of different animals living in their own unique habitats. Most of all, the book sends a positive message, teaching children the importance of acceptance. The picture book is divided into chapters based on the animals Sam comes across in his journey. The narrative is age-appropriate and direct; the images colorful and whimsical. I Am Sam is a must-have book that parents and children should read together as it introduces a valuable life lesson that is sure to incite meaningful discussions.