Reviews & Awards:

Click on a book cover below to read the review.

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Spunky Tells All


* Spunky Tells All is  a Candidate for the 2014 Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Awards.

* A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of 2012.

* A 2012-2013 Alabama Camellia Children's Choice Award selection!

* A  Maryland Blue Crab Young Readers Award Honors Book.

* Texas's Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District--Spunky Tells All has won inclusion in Houston schools'  2013-2014 "Horned Toad Tales" reading list.  In the coming year, 110,000 young Houston readers will have the chance to choose their favorite book from the twenty on the list.



Spunky tells all

"Cameron has written another top-notch entry in the Julian and Huey series, this time from the brothers’ pup’s perspective. Who knows all of a family’s secrets? The dog, of course. Spunky lets readers in on all the details of the Bateses, right down to the complex smells of each family member. The tragedy is that even though he understands them, they don’t always understand him. They misinterpret Spunky’s off-the-wall behavior and deduce that they need another pet to help diffuse some of his energy. Enter Fiona, a purebred cat with an attitude. She and Spunky are at odds from the get-go, due to her egocentricity and skewed view of how the world works (for example, she thinks that if she puts Spunky’s food in the water puddles on the floor, wolves won’t come to the house). Even so, Spunky comes to the rescue when Fiona’s life is in danger, which knits the whole family closer together. Spunky joins the ranks of stellar animal narrators, on par with Harold, the dog from James Howe’s Bunnicula (Atheneum, 1979). Readers will be simultaneously tickled by his canine observations and moved by the profound connection between dog and family. Huey and Spunky’s shared dream is particularly poignant, and may very well move dog lovers to tears. Though the narrative doesn’t need embellishment, thickly outlined illustrations pepper the text, giving readers a visual reference for some of Spunky’s antics. A gem."  
--School Library Journal (starred review)

“The beloved family of Julian and Huey Bates (The Stories Julian Tells, 1981, etc.) is back after a long hiatus. Spunky, their mixed-breed dog, hilariously reveals all about his humans and realizes his purpose in life.
        No matter how hard Spunky concentrates and how earnestly he explains himself, his family is unable to hear him. This leads to one unintended consequence: The family adopts a cat, Fiona, thinking that Spunky needs a friend to play with. Fiona does just what she wishes, while Spunky is true to his nature and just wants to please his family and follow the schedule—except when he is chewing socks and breaking pencils. Through first-canine narrative, readers get right into Spunky's mind, sharing his frustrations at Fiona’s lack of reflection and his humans’ inability to figure things out. Amusing descriptions of the house—Boy Sleeping Room, White Pond Room (bathroom), Family Lie-Around Room—keep young readers laughing, and lots of action (the best of it in the White Pond Room) keeps the pages turning. Spunky’s love of his boy, Huey, will bring a tear to the eyes of dog lovers, too. Castillo’s perfect black-and-white spot drawings capture the energy and intelligence of both animals as they begin the careful dance of new friendship.
        Readers ready for chapter books will delight in seeing the world through Spunky’s eyes and powerful nose.”  
--Kirkus (starred review)

"Dog fans...will delight in Spunky’s tail-wagging tale-telling, which could introduce a new generation of kids to the Bates family chronicles... [A] deeply touching tribute to the dog-kid bond." 
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Readers who know Julian and Huey will see them in a whole new light...This is a beginning chapter book that begs to be read." 
--The Horn Book

"It is a book filled with adventure and mischief about a dog named Spunky. He thinks the book should be called “Spunky Smells All” because he has to smell everything in order to learn about all he finds. He is very sad that his family cannot speak dog language and misunderstands his behavior like chewing socks and pencils and barking a lot. One time, the family does figure out why he kept barking at a freezer drawer because the family cat was trapped in it and Spunky was trying to save her. After reading this book, you will better understand why dogs do what they do. I enjoyed reading it and I think children aged 5 to 11 would enjoy it too!"  
--Alexandra Stange, Age 7, New York City

“Spunky Tells All is a beautiful story of friendship with beloved animals and people. I enjoyed it because it has a good ending and is an exciting adventure to read.”  
–Natalia Adams, Washington, D.C., age 8

“I loved it all the way to the end.”  
--Ivan, Beaverton, Oregon, age 12

“I liked your book so much that I want to buy it and read it to my sister before she goes to bed.”  
--Connor, Beaverton, Oregon, age 11

“The book gave me all sorts of emotions and pictures in my head.  It is an amazing book.”  
--Emily, Beaverton, Oregon, age 11

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* A Junior Literary Guild Selection

* A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

* A Booklist Editor's Choice 

* An American Library Association Notable Book

* A Notable Book for a Global Society Award, International Reading Association


"Cameron layers her compelling story with vivid descriptions of setting and weaves into the narrative the complexities inherent in the blending of Mayan and ladino cultures and relgious practices...Well-written and engrossing."  
--School Library Journal (starred review)

"...heartbreakingly ingenuous voice... Readers will ache with [Tzunún's] longing for love and her need to claim her own individual humanity. Painful, beautiful, and ultimately triumphant."  
--Kirkus Review

"The taut, chilling suspense and the treasure hunt will keep readers flying through the pages, but it's Cameron's beautiful language and Rosa's larger identity quest that makes this novel extraordinary."   
--Booklist (starred review)

" almost hypnotic intensity..."  
--Publisher's Weekly

"Colibri takes us on a journey, almost an impossible journey to imagine. We begin with someone in darkness who doesn't yet see the darkness around her. And then step by, and only through her steps, with her, we are startled to discover the light. It's a necessary and empowering journey for the young in all of us to take. How wonderful that we have the opportunity to do it through Ms. Cameron's book."  
--Jacqueline Kim, actress

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gloria risingGloria Rising

"Profound character-building insights..."  

"Readers will... identify with all involved and cheer when these appealing characters are satisfyingly vindicated... Fans of Julian and Gloria won't be disappointed."
--School Library Journal

Recommended for children's space education at the Space Education Educators' Conference
--Johnson Space Center, Houston, USA.

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Gloria's Way

Glorias way book cover

"Great fun, with subtly placed positive messages."  
--Kirkus Reviews

"This is where peace begins--in an ordinary neighborhood where children learn to address their problems with the help of wise adults who offer them good counsel while respecting the children enough to let them work out their own solutions...Sparkle{s} with humor."  
--The Horn Book

"A delightful companion to the books featuring Julian and his little brother, Huey...Here, their friend Gloria has her say...Her six short, episodic stories of everyday struggles and occasional triumphs will appeal to young readers...A good choice for children who are ready for chapter books."  

"These easy-to-digest vignettes narrated by the affable and resourceful friend of Huey and Julian Bates...go down like comfort food. The volume offers swift, palpable solutions to a girl's everyday problems. . . Cameron... conveys the benefits of effort and high self-esteem while stressing the importance of mothers and fathers taking participate in their children's lives.”  
--Publishers Weekly

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The Stories Huey Tells

book cover huey

"Gentler than Beverly Cleary's Ramona series but with much of the same authenticity and insight, Huey's stories give younger readers a protagonist they'll enjoy knowing."  
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Warm-hearted and winning."  
--The Horn Book

"A book for sharing in the classroom and at home."  

"Ann Cameron's writing, which features African-American characters, illuminates daily life and offers poignant glimpses of the human heart."  
--Bangor Daily News

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More Stories Huey Tells

book cover more stories huey tells

"Huey's straightforward narrative gives a realistic view of a child's world in language that emerging readers can easily grasp. The children in Toft's expressive illustrations complete a package certain to elicit smiles."  
--School Library Journal

"Gentler than Beverly Cleary's Ramona series but with much of the same authenticity and insight, Huey's stories give younger readers a protagonist they'll enjoy knowing."  
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Warm-hearted and winning."  
--The Horn Book

"A book for sharing in the classroom and at home."  

"There are five fun stories in this collection, each better than the last. Ann Cameron's stories about these two brothers who are rivals and yet best friends leaves the reader feeling happy and wanting more."  
--Book Hunter

"Reading and/or listening to this book is a definite experience in humor and insight. Every children's library should have a copy of this book."  
--Linda Ungerman, Clark County School District

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The Stories Julian Tells

Julian stories cover

* The Stories Julian Tells is recommended on Oprah’s 2012 Summer Children's Reading List.

* The Stories Julian Tells is an ALA Notable Children's Book, and was the winner of the Irma Simonton Black Award.

"You have to go a long way these days to find a book that leaves you feeling as happy as this one."  
--New York Times

"Glows with the mischief, magic and imagination of childhood."  
--Jim Trealease in The Read-Aloud Handbook

Exhilarating and touching. Cameron's particular strength is to capture, in revealing snatches of dialogue, the subtle eddies and undercurrents of feeling in normal family life. Yet her magically intense, almost poetic prose is simple enough for the youngest reader.
--Entertainment Weekly

I was surprised right away by how beautiful the writing is in this book. It’s simple enough to be read by a newly independent reader, but it doesn’t sacrifice art for the sake of simplicity. Author Ann Cameron weaves lovely figures of speech in and out of her sentences, and her words project strong, complete images into the reader’s mind.
--from Katie's blog "Secrets and Sharing Soda"

This timeless collection of short stories will hold your interest.
--Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

See video reviews by enthusiastic kids at: 

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More Stories Julian Tells

book cover for 'more stories Julian tells'"Comfortable is a word that comes to mind when reading this book. Although Julian is black, there is a universality about his experience and observations that relate to all children. ...His allure does not derive from any contrived 'black experiences' but from being an interesting character in his own right."  
--American Visions

"One of the author's strengths is her ability to impart such lessons as an older sibling's responsibility for a younger one and the meaning of friendship."  

"Cameron's words sing and the relationships are lovingly in tune."  
--Chicago Sun-Times

"Cameron is a virtuoso storyteller with a gift for revealing the heart and soul of childhood in` her stories."  

 ...short stories that sparkle with all of the innocence and experience of childhood. The events of these stories-- making a bet with a friend, attempting to be strong and brave, sending a message in a bottle--all reflect incidents true to children. Even though the stories are brief, the characters are fully realized and exhibit a complete range of emotions. Told with Cameron's flair for understatement and illustrated with Strugnell's playful charcoal drawings, these stories are the sort that will make children ask for more. 
--School Library Journal

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Julian, Dream Doctor

Book cover for 'Julian dream doctor'"A truly funny book that had children aged seven upwards rolling around with laughter."  
--Child Education

"A warm and convincing black family. ...Cameron's well-realized characters and situations are impressive."  

"A delight for six to nine-year-olds, and a reassurance for any child frightened of creepy-crawlies."  
--Croydon Advertiser

Julian wants to give his father the perfect birthday gift--"something he had always dreamed of"--but he doesn't know what it is...  Julian is a convincing character with a very real family, and children will identify with his desire to surprise his father, as well as delight in the anticipation of comic disaster when he delivers his gift.
--School Library Journal

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Julian, Secret Agent

"The humor is effective and the action nonstop."  
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Librarians wanting stories with black protagonists will welcome more of Julian's adventures."  

A quick and interesting read--and one that will surely draw in less-able readers."
--School Library Journal.

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Julian's Glorious Summer


* A 1988 Library of Congress Children's Book of the Year

“Cameron has done an excellent job of portraying children’s fears and their desire to hide them. . . . [A] superb choice for readers going from easy readers to chapter books.”  
–School Library Journal

"This is a perfectly constructed young reader, with neat turns in the plot, a loving family, and engaging dialogue."  

"When his best friend, Gloria, gets a new bike, Julian (7) is dismayed: he doesn't want to learn to ride, because he's afraid of falling. In a satisfying conclusion, Julian gets his own bike as a reward for considerable labor, and then learns what fun it can be to ride. This is a perfectly constructed young reader, with neat turns in the plot, a loving family, and engaging dialogue."  
--Kirkus (pointer)

"This agreeable story has a great deal of charm."  
--The Junior Bookshelf

"Librarians wanting stories with black protagonists will especially welcome this."  

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The Kidnapped Prince: The Life of Olaudah Equiano

book-cover"It's a gripping story of adventure, betrayal, cruelty and courage...Kids will read this young man's story on their own; it will also enrich curriculum units on history and writing."  

"… a wonderful book with appeal for a wide range of audiences."  
--Carol Lisi, Director of ESL, Alexandria (Virginia) City Public Schools

"... a must read for British and American elementary school students."
--Jennifer Bardsley on her blog, "Teaching Baby to Read"

The inspired simplicity of Cameron's adaptation quickly allows Equiano's gifted voice to establish a compelling relationship between himself and young readers.  ...a must for multicultural or history collections.
--School Library Journal

"Readers will be fascinated by the details in this account."

What I learned from his story is to be more brave, more honest and more caring. These things could help me have a better life. I recommend this book to people because I want people to read it. It is a good story.
--Leo, 5th grader, on

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The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods


* Finalist, National Book Award for Young People's Literature, 1998

"(Amanda's) transformation from 'boneless' Amanda Woods to bolder Amanda K. less dramatic than a butterfly's metamorphosis but just about as impressive."
--Publisher's Weekly

"...Cameron displays a virtuoso gift for precision, telling observations, and creative but unforced imagery...(Amanda's) negotiation of the delicate nuances of the myriad relationships between people will open the eyes of many readers hoping to do the same." 
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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The Most Beautiful Place in the World

book-cover“Young children won’t easily forget this powerful and touching tale of a child’s struggle to find love and respect.  It’s a real winner.”  
--Queens, N.Y. Courier

“The human needs and feelings which speak to children from this story know no national boundaries…The quiet caring of his hard-working grandmother show Juan that adversity can’t extinguish love and self-esteem.”  
--Language Arts

"No social studies textbook can give a better picture of the life of a poor family in Central America.  …A definite purchehas for grades 1-3!”  
--Library Talk

“Genuine and touching, the book has much to tell readers who are acquainted only with a land of plenty.”  
--The New Yorker

“…this most affecting book…will stay in the memory…”  
--Buffalo New York News

Juan tells this bittersweet story, which reads smoothly and powerfully on several levels, with warmth and dignity."

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