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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Keep Dreaming: Leron's Song is a graphic novel about social issues for preteens and young adults written by Ramon Robinson, and with illustrations by Francis Roman LLamzon. Leron’s life and world are informed by music. He hears music in everything, from the pounding of rain on the pavement to the rhythmic shuffle of a washing machine. Leron learned to play the piano and write music when he was young, and he composes his music all the time. People hear him humming, and some pick on him for being different, but that humming is simply the newest composition that is being created in his head. Mr. Kestenbaum understands where Leron is coming from; his world is informed by music as well, but there are some kids in Preston High who want nothing more than to destroy Leron’s creations. When they throw paint in his locker and destroy his composition book, Leron is almost consumed by his anger, but then a new song begins to form in his head. Mr. Kestenbaum says Leron’s name means “the song is mine.” Leron is stunned to hear that; it seems to help him make sense of everything that he is experiencing.
Keep Dreaming addresses the serious issue of bullying in school. Kids are indoctrinated never to tell on their abusers for fear of further torment, but staying quiet does little to protect them from future attacks. Leron is a target because of his musical gift. He’s different; he hums; he writes in his composition book; and he has a teacher for a mentor. All these things can attract bullies. I loved Leron’s story and found the inspiring lyrics to be the perfect lead-in to this compelling tale. Francis Roman LLamzon’s images are boldly colored and powerful, and they work so well with the story line. I also appreciated the discussion questions that follow the story as well as the glossary. Bullying happens everywhere, and it doesn’t go away when one becomes an adult, but being an adult can make it a lot easier to bear. Keep Dreaming is an important work that can help start discussions on bullying. It’s most highly recommended.