Reviewed by Molly Martin
The Adventures of Jazzi G:
Search For the Missing Peace
by Gayle Johnston
Morgan James Publishing
Paperback: 202 pages, August 2, 2016, ISBN-13: 978-1630478407
Gayle Johnston’s The Adventures of Jazzie G: Search for the Missing Peace, begins with twelve-year-old Jazzie absorbed in the midst of the worst thing ever to happen in her young life.
Spring break is right around the corner, her teacher, Mr Shawnley has just announced that over the holiday the class is to prepare a homework assignment on peace. Jazzie cannot believe it, first her parents have been carrying on ongoing battling, Dad has left and they are going to get a divorce, and now this. What in the world does a kid know about peace.
Before long Jazzie steps in to thwart school bullies from harassing Oxford, a really smart but also really nerdy classmate who insists he owes her his life. In payment Oxy offers to work on the homework assignment with Jazzie. The pair are soon enmeshed in the most startling activity of their young lives, they work together to set up a website aimed at bringing together kids from all over the world to share ideas regarding peace; what it means and how it affects everyone.
The book is peopled with a captivating cast of characters including an Asian lad named Su and his cat, Cat Man Doo; Jazzie, Nelson her dog, and Oxy. Readers will enjoy getting to know ‘Enery, a lad with a disability who lives in London, Finn, a Swiss youth wearing lederhosen, Dutch sisters Rachele and Kristina, their pet Pookie and his seeing eye aid Nafferton, as well as Abraham an Israeli youngster and his new friend Hakim.
Traveling on a CyberCoaster, meeting a blue-eyed pirate, dodging danger more than once, The Adventures of Jazzie G is a well written, fast paced book complete with snappy dialogue, and stimulating settings sure to please the target audience of Middle Grades – Young Adult readers who enjoy a bit of fantasy, excitement and situations featuring kids their own ages. Readers meet so many interesting characters bringing perspective of other cultures in a non-preachy manner leading to beginning understanding of optimism, comradery and how peace and acceptance comes about on individual basis.
Johnston offers an imaginative work dedicated toward helping tweens understand that happiness comes more from the inner acceptance of others as they are, without the need to force family, friends, and classmates to become carbon copies of themselves. Johnston gently guides young readers through the eyes of Jazzie as she begins to understand that the anger she harbors toward her parents, and others, is something she can let destroy her; or as Jazzie, readers too learn the power of forgiveness, acceptance of difference of understanding and how it affects Jazzie/themselves in a positive manner.
I like that Johnston, with subtly and adroitness, exposes young readers to many of the global issues facing society, The Adventures of Jazzie G touches on ethnic, religious, cultural differences we addressed in First and Fourth grades social studies lessons taught during my years of classroom teaching. I received a paperback book for review; it is well made, print is large enough for even older eyes to read without difficulty, pages are secured firmly, cover is smooth, likely can be wiped off with damp cloth should need arise. I look forward to reviewing others of this series.
Reviewed by Molly’s Reviews
30+ years classroom teacher