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I am an educator, book reviewer, online interviewer, author, and radio show talk host on Blog Talk Radio. I interview adult authors and children's authors.
Growing up in the Bronx was great for my family and me. My sister and I had different interests, different friends but one thing stands out, and we lived in neighborhood with people from many different ethnic backgrounds. When we were growing, everyone seemed to get along and no one really cared whether you were African American, white or any other race or nationality. My parents owned a dry cleaners in the Bronx and so did all of my uncles and grandfather. I loved working in my father's store and going to my grandfather's on 180th street and Mohegan Avenue in the Bronx. Going to school in the Bronx, you learn how to get along with everyone in school and your neighborhood. No one ever cared where you came from or what you looked like. You were accepted for who you were as a person.
However, being overweight made things difficult for me and I often felt left out of many things that other kids could do. Being a total klutz did not help. I wrote my children's stories to teach children that we need to go back to the days when I grew up and everyone got along.
My children's books include My Name is Bertha, Bertha Speaks Out, Bertha Fights Back, Bertha and Tillie Forever, and soon to be published, Bertha and Tillie - Sisters Forever. I am also the author of Because We Care, Bad Choices, Faces Behind the Stones, Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs, and Memories Are Precious.
on June 07, 2013 :
”Bertha and Tillie Sisters Forever” by Fran Lewis is a lesson, told in story form. It is a lesson of tolerance and making good decisions. While I suspect that this book was intended for children, I know more than a few adults that could learn a thing or two from this book.
Enter Bertha, a 13 yr old overweight girl. The book is told through her eyes and her voice. Each chapter is a scene in a play. The first chapter sets the stage. Meet the players. Penelope Mia, Bertha’s cousin is a pretty, slim, popular girl who is a snob, a bully and has an air of arrogance that would block out the Southern California smog. Then there is Tillie, Bertha’s sister. As siblings sometime are – Tillie and Bertha could not be more different. While Bertha is overweight, shy, and has few friends, Tillie is slender, vivacious and a total social butterfly.
With each chapter, Bertha is faced with a different obstacle to overcome. Once, she was blamed for something she didn’t do. Too shy and quiet to stick up for herself, she accepts the punishment. Then, in an effort to beat the system, Bertha switched sides to see what it was like to be the bad girl for a change. In her mind, becoming part of a gang would keep her from being bullied or wrongly accused. As it turned out, she was still wrongly accused, and because she didn’t want to do what the gang was doing, she was on the verge of getting bullied – or worse. Bertha always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, now getting hauled into the police station with the gang. As we observe, a thirteen year old girl must continuously make decisions, and not every decision is going to be the right choice.
Now its time for Bertha to fight back. She began by researching who was posting embarrassing pictures of her on My Space and Face Book. That was interrupted when the principal asked Bertha to lead a new peer mediation group for her middle school. She gathers some friends and they begin the investigation….. Through her work on this peer mediation group, adults begin to trust once again.
The chapters come, and with each chapter, Bertha confronts some type of intolerance, be-it bigotry, bully’s, vandals or gangs.
As an outcast she turned to acceptance through gangs. That didn’t work out. Turning to doing the right thing by reporting vandals, bully’s, bigots and such and leading a team of students to work with police to rid the school of those bad influences turned out to be the path of acceptance.
“Bertha and Tillie Sisters Forever” is well written and easy to follow. The story is engaging and the lessons are important. Fran provided a glimpse into a 13 year old girl’s life and extracted sympathy and empathy from our hearts.
This book is full of important lessons in tolerance. lessons that are crucial for children, and a necessary reminder for adults.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)