Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
La Petite Rita: Volume I by Rita Avaud Najm is the delightful story of a family that moves to New York from France. Francois and his wife Antoinette are excited about the move, but their seven-year-old daughter, Rita, is not that excited though her parents reassure her that she will make new friends and can see the Statue of Liberty whenever she feels like it. Rita is worried about her French accent. Once she reaches New York, Rita is astonished with everything she sees, but Rita does not express her feelings with words. Her first day in school does not go well and Rita wonders if she can be home-schooled. Will Rita adjust to her new school and the new place?
What I like the most about this story is the messages it conveys to young readers; what matters is not what you say and how you pronounce it, but the kindness and respect you show while speaking. Rita’s story gives confidence to all children who are apprehensive about moving to a new country with a new language. Rita’s story is uplifting and entertaining. Apart from the positive messages the story conveys, the book also gives information about Thanksgiving Day and dual French immersion programs in schools. The messages in the story make it a good book for read aloud sessions in classrooms and bedtime story-telling. Rita, Francois, and Antoinette’s characters are well portrayed and they are real and relatable. Their feelings and emotions while adjusting to a new country are palpable to readers and also give confidence to all those parents and children who are planning to move to new places.