Speak Up Susan

An Everyday Hero

Children - Grade 4th-6th
44 Pages
Reviewed on 02/15/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

Nine-year-old Susan, a student at Pleasant Grove Middle School, lives in what ought to be a paradise, surrounded by bougainvillea hedges, fountain trees, and a host of caring adults who support and encourage learning. Her potentially idyllic existence is overshadowed, however, by the constant presence of bullying. A group of boys called the Takers Gang is wreaking havoc on the tranquility of the school and the safety of its students, causing Susan to feel tremendous fear and anxiety when she becomes a witness to the planning of one of their malevolent enterprises. She becomes a target as a result. Later, in a redemptive and uplifting object lesson, Susan finds help from an unexpected friend and learns that no one needs to live in fear.

Sabinah Oroge does a splendid and compelling job of capturing Susan’s growing sense of isolation and fear, and also of detailing the process by which bullying can quickly escalate despite the presence of adults whose responsibility it is to monitor such activities. Speak Up Susan is clearly written from direct experience, making it a timely and important work for children and adults alike to read and discuss.

Speak Up Susan is direct in its purpose, sensitive in its approach, firm in its application and successful in its mission to educate and empower children to speak out against bullying whenever and wherever it occurs. The plot is simple enough for even small children to easily comprehend and the story interesting enough to engage and excite young minds. If every child could read a story like Sabinah Oroge’s Speak Up Susan, the world would be a much friendlier and less frightening place for young heroes to learn and grow.