Keep Dreaming

Leron's Song

Young Adult - Social Issues
47 Pages
Reviewed on 03/30/2018
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    Book Review

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.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Music is a powerful tool: it heals, it calms, it is a thing of beauty and permanence. To have the talent to create beautiful music is a gift. Leron has this gift. Everywhere he goes, he’s humming a tune he heard in his head. When he can, he writes down his music. It sustains him, keeps him stable, focused. For a young high school boy who is constantly being bullied, music is the only thing that keeps him going. That and the encouragement of his parents, the music teacher and one special friend. But sometimes the bullying becomes too much, like when the bullies filled his locker with paint, which destroyed the book where he wrote down his music. Quitting his music wasn’t an option. He almost did quit, but the music called him back.

Bullying is a real and complex problem in today’s schools. Ramon Robinson's Keep Dreaming: Leron's Song follows the story of a boy’s suffering as he endures a daily regimen of bullying. Fortunately, Leron has his music to sustain him. Many victims of bullying have no support system at all. The plot leads the reader through a cafeteria encounter with the bullies, to the paint damaged locker, to other incidents that threaten Leron’s ability to cope, culminating with a simple request from the music teacher that sets Leron on his composing path once again, making him shine, not just for his support group, but for the entire school. This is a passionate story with a powerful message, not just about the evils of bullies, but also about the healing power of music.

Bruce Arrington

Keep Dreaming: Leron's Song by Ramon Robinson is a young-teen targeted book about Leron who always has music running through his head. He doesn’t try to fit in with the crowd around him, but rather walks to the beat of his own drum. His passion is music, plain and simple. The story includes a few pages of lyrics and illustrations. Leron is a believable teen who won’t rat on those who abuse him, smart enough to know it will come back to him. He’s a three-dimensional character and, when something happens to one of his projects, he acts with anger in the normal teenage fashion. He also listens to those around him who do want to help, which eventually leads to his success.

This book really works because it pits the awkward growing up stage, along with undesirables seemingly everywhere, against the inner fire within that could lead to greatness in his life. That’s where the book succeeds; in showing perseverance, and highlighting the helpers (aka teachers) along the way who are there to inspire. The conclusion doesn’t solve all the problems of his life, but rather points him in another direction with intensified focus and purpose.

The book has fine artwork interspersed throughout, creating a reader’s sense of connection with Leron. The lyrics of the song Keep Dreaming help us connect with Leron in a real and personal way, allowing us to see his heart. I heartily recommend Keep Dreaming: Leron's Song by Ramon Robinson for young readers like Leron who need help with the daily struggles of bullying and life’s purpose.