Bertyl: I JUST WANT TO BELONG AUTHOR: Sandra Dobozi and illustrated by EFLE Barjolini
Not everyone is born to look like everyone else. Every child wants to be accepted by their peers and no one wants to feel left out because he/she does not have the right clothes, is the wrong skin color or just appears to be awkward and or shy. Born in a celery patch this precious title named Bertyl Turtle Summer Breeze is curious, smart and does not understand why he is not the color of lime, leaf or grass. He is pure with no color mark namely the color of glass. You can literally see right through him he is a clear as a jelly-fish mass. But, his heart is made of pure gold and what he learns from his friends is more valuable than if he was born green like other turtles.
Checking out his face or reflection in the stream he realizes that he does not resemble or look like his parents and this makes him pose the all important question to readers: How would Bertyl turn to green? Some solutions are not that easy and all too often we wonder why. Bertyl wants to be the color green like trees or lima beans or what about green clothes? Why not paint myself green would that help? But, his wonderful friends came from all parts of the forest to help cheer him up and give him suggestions. Sugar-beet Parakeet and Blueberry Canary and others explained to him that you are not plain you are YOU! His friends told him a special story that only they can share with you about Paradise when you read this beautifully written and colorfully illustrated book. What they tell him applies not only to this special turtle but to children and adults too. I too understand that the circle of life never ends and I know it has no beginning and to me no end. So, you are not defined by other people or how they act or look you are one of a kind! As Bertyl will learn that he is special in his way all children need to learn the same lesson. What the final outcome is you will learn when you see Bertyl on the final page of the book and learn whether he smiles and if he realizes that he’s no mystery he is just as he says: Uniquely me!
Where does he feel he belongs? What will he do next? Does he feel that he needs to be green or is he happy just being him? We All Belong in our own special way. We all belong and should never want to change who we are on any day. Life brings us changes and our differences are what makes each one of us stand out for the best. Learning to get along is what we should all do everyday and maybe adults will learn the same lesson. For educators this is a great way to introduce a new student to a class and to the school. It’s a great way using each one of the animals who come to his aid showing that many different races, people and in this case animals can ban together to help someone feel special and a part of the group. Great to foster great self-esteem and self-worth, friendship, loyalties and just knowing that WE ALL BELONG!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine