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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Masterpiece by Alexandra Hoffman is an apt title not only for the story it tells but as a word that best describes this book as a whole. Readers meet a young boy named Samuel who loves the color blue. He sees the world in different shades of blue as evidenced by his artworks and personal stuff. One day at school, his teacher tells the class to draw a picture of themselves and their families and to be sure to add lots of colors. Of course, for Samuel, everything looks awesome in blue. Each student draws a picture showing their quality time with their family and shares it in class. When it is Samuel’s turn to share his artwork, his teacher describes it as a masterpiece. But will his classmates agree?
Masterpiece is one of those rare and inspiring books that tackle the theme of inclusion, and it is effective in handling the subject with sensitivity, compassion, and encouragement. Alexandra Hoffman gives the perfect treatment to her character, and Beatriz Mello’s solid and colorful illustrations amplify it. Hoffman doesn’t even mention that Samuel is a child with special needs, but his unique perception of the world and his use of accommodation tools are enough to give you clues. As an uncle to a special needs child, I find this story striking, personal, and human as Samuel exhibits certain characteristics that reflect my beloved nephew. It also sends a message that children without special needs should learn to become more comfortable with differences and foster more solid friendships when taught the value of inclusion. This is a highly recommended read for parents, children, teachers, civic groups, and counselors.