Maxine's New Job
by Dr. Lynda J. Mubarak

 

2018 Christian Literacy Awards: Maxine's New Job Nomination
Maxine's New Job has been nominated to receive the prestigious "Henri Award"
at the 2018 Christian Literacy Awards for outstanding literacy work in the Children's Books division. 

 

 

 

Maxine's New Job by Dr. Lynda J. Mubarak
 

 

Maxine Hill is an inquisitive fourth grade student who loves to read, work crossword puzzles, visit her best friend, Amanda Grayson, and play with her cat, Amos. Maxine is also on a quest to find out why her neighbor, Mrs. Sullivan, is acting so weird. Mrs. Sullivan is always outside sitting on the front porch with her two rescue dogs or working in her flower bed. However, she seems to get very nervous when Maxine talks to her about everything. What is going on with this lady? Is she a robot spy? Is she an alien? Is she working for the CIA? Follow Maxine Hill as she solves the case of the strange neighbor!

 

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Age Level: 6 - 10  |   Length: 58 pages 

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BOOK REVIEWS

Maxine’s New Job: #RWYK Great Read Certified

 

 
 
We’re back in the world of Shorty and the Sullivans, this time across the street with Maxine Hill,  a precocious fourth grader. Maxine is an adorable girl with big glasses and a big heart. Her family is gentle too and I enjoyed meeting them. The illustrations have a cozy feeling to them as we see into the places in Maxine’s world.
 
The book is definitely on the long side for a picture book. Obviously this isn’t unheard of, I simply tend to prefer keeping picture books shorter and saving more complex stories for transitional chapter books, but that’s totally a personal preference. I think the story and length does make the book a better fit for older audiences, first or second grade and up. If you could get your third and fourth graders into it, it would be great!
 
From a social justice standpoint I thought this book really tackled some interesting problems. Maxine and her family support being involved in community and helping out how and when they can. They volunteer at a food pantry once a month and started to do so after Maxine noticed an unhoused man and began asking questions. (Side note, I wish the book had called him unhoused instead of homeless.) I really love that her family is so willing to engage in this way and the way Mubarak has written it, it comes across as genuine and sincere instead of didactic.
 
It’s this ethic of service that leads Maxine to help Mrs. Sullivan, her neighbor across the street, solve a problem. It turns out Mrs Sullivan is functionally illiterate, largely because she struggled so much in school learning to read, never got the help she needed to be successful, and then dropped out of school. I have never seen a picture book that takes on this issue, but it isn’t an uncommon one. I know my library system has a program for adults who are illiterate or need more reading instruction and it isn’t the only program like that out there by any means. It might not be super realistic that a fourth grader is going to help a woman with learning disabilities to learn to read, but I love books that take a positive stance on children stepping in and stepping up, even if it’s not totally plausible. I think it’s a representation of sorts. It shows kids they can help and puts faith in them. No need to squash their optimism and willingness to do good. If anything I think it encourages them to stay engaged and find ways they can help even if it doesn’t look exactly the way they first think it will.
 
 
 
 
 
Maxine’s New Job written by Dr. Lynda J. Mubarak and illustrated by Adua Hernandez introduces us to a young girl named Maxine Hill who loves to read, work crossword puzzles, visit her best friend, Amanda Grayson, and play with her cat, Amos. Maxine is a fourth-grade student who is full of curiosity and wants to take up a career of forensic scientist when she grows up. Maxine is concerned by her neighbour Mrs. Sullivan’s strange behaviour and is determined to track down the cause. She embarks on a fact-finding mission and finds out that Mrs. Sullivan was dropped out from school when she was in seventh grade and can’t read! Fortunately, Maxine with the help of her supportive family takes up a new job of being a tutor to Mrs. Sullivan and teach her how to read.
 
Maxine’s New Job is a nice introduction to what a neighbor is and the role a neighbor should play. Teaching service and helping others can’t be done through direct instruction. You can share positive examples of service via stories in great children’s books and Dr. Lynda’s book does a wonderful job at teaching kindness, service, and helping others. I especially love the sense of community that is prominent throughout the book. It introduces kids to what a community service is and the importance of serving people in need.
 
It’s a good lesson for our children to learn, that although everyone has deficiencies in some area, there is always something we can do to help if we are looking for opportunities and making ourselves available. I love the line said by Maxine’s mom “When a person needs help, you do what you can for them with what you have or what you know”. It’s a sweet story about open hospitality and generosity to those around us.
 
What I particularly liked about this book is that it features a young black girl as an adorable protagonist of the story. We know that all children love seeing faces like theirs within the pages of their picture books, but it can be hard to find books starring kids of color. Dr. Lynda’s book not only gives children of color an opportunity to see themselves in stories but also helps broaden the perspective of all children by fostering children’s sense of empathy and connection with characters who might look different from themselves.
 
The illustrations are so beautiful, and the plot is captivating. You’ll love this friendly little girl who has quite a fun and busy school life but takes the time to check on her neighbour and help her by teaching how to read. Highly recommended to kids of all ages!
 
 
 
 

 

BOOK EXCERPT:  Maxine's New Job 

 
 
It was a warm, bright Sunday morning and a special time for the Hills. Once a month on Sundays, the Hill Family spent four hours at the Helping Hands Food Pantry. Max had asked her parents several important questions after watching a homeless family standing on a corner last year. That’s when Mr. and Mrs. Hill decided that Max needed to learn how community agencies serve people in need. The Hills contacted the pantry and made arrangements for the family to volunteer one day per month. Maxine enjoyed the community service hours. Her job was filling each family meal box with a can of green beans and cereal. Mr. and Mrs. Hill worked in the pantry kitchen. “Max, when a person needs help, you do what you can for them with what you have or what you know. Never forget that,” said Mrs. Hill. “OK mom, I won’t forget,” said Maxine.
 
The Hills completed their four volunteer hours and shook hands with the families before leaving. Max thought, Wow, it feels great to help someone who is having a difficult time. Mom says we should continue to do this once each month and I think she’s right! The Hills stopped at an ice cream shop for a treat and returned home so that Max could prepare for the first day of school.
 
The first day at B. H. Obama Elementary School was awesome! Maxine listened as the new principal welcomed the students and the parents. She was happy to see her classmates from the past year and she saw some new faces. The lunchroom had been repainted and it looked completely different. Maxine also discovered that she would be in the new wing of the school because the student enrollment had increased. Wow, everything was new in this area from the desks to the lockers! And to make it even better, she didn’t have to share a locker this year. 
 
At the end of the day, she had shared some summer memories and made new friends. Maxine also had several school papers to take home. One of the papers was a flier about open house in a few days. When the evening school bus
 
stopped on the corner, Maxine and four neighborhood kids hopped off and began walking home. As Maxine walked, she smiled, looked down at her new sneakers, and thought about all the new changes at school. She was trying to decide whether she wanted to join the chess, robotics or Scrabble club. When she looked up, she was facing her house and Mrs. Sullivan was watering the flowers in her little red well next door.  Hmm, the Sullivans may want to come to my school’s open house, so I’ll give the flier to Mrs. Sullivan, thought Maxine. 
 
She ran over to Mrs. Sullivan, handed her the flier and began discussing the first day of school. Maxine talked very hurriedly about the first day of school and said good-bye quickly. She knew it was time to get home and take Amos outside. Mrs. Sullivan listened and nodded, but had a concerned look on her face as Maxine walked away.
 
Maxine thought about asking Mrs. Sullivan if she was feeling alright, but she thought about what her mom said last week, “Max, please try to be courteous. You ask so many questions. Maybe you should be a detective!” She thought for a minute, walked back into the house, ran up the stairs and called Amos. It was time for his afternoon walk and his favorite doggie treat. I’ll talk with Mrs. Sullivan later thought Maxine.
 
 Amos ran out of the bedroom, rubbed his head against Maxine’s leg and ran downstairs to the front door. He was ready to take the afternoon walk around the block. After walking with Amos and waving at the neighbors, Maxine and Amos slowly walked back to the house. Mrs. Hill was busy preparing dinner. Today was Monday, so it was going to be chicken tacos, Maxine's favorite. Maxine looked at the Sullivan house from the kitchen window and inquired, "Mom, have you ever noticed anything strange about Mrs. Sullivan?"
 
“Max, what may seem strange or unusual to you could be normal behavior for another person.” responded Mrs. Hill. “I know that Mom, but she seemed uncomfortable when I spoke to her about my first day at school. She looked very uneasy when I gave her the announcement about the school’s open house”, stated Maxine. “Maybe she had something on her mind Max. People sometimes look at you when you are talking, but they are thinking about other important things. 
 
We all do it from time to time”, explained Mrs. Hill. I know Mom is right, thought Maxine but no one should look that weird if I'm discussing school or a piece of paper.
 
Maxine sat down at the kitchen table and enjoyed the tacos and ice tea with Mrs. Hill. Mr. Hill always worked late on Mondays so Maxine and Mrs. Hill had their special time to talk about all the new school developments. Amos was curled up in a furry ball under her chair. The first day of school had been great and she ended the day with her favorite meal!
 
Before Maxine went to bed she thought about Ms. Parker’s remark after math class ended today. “Max, if you are still thinking about becoming a detective, you should also consider a career as a forensic scientist. Both jobs require an interest in science, working with many pieces of information called clues, and solving mysteries", explained Ms. Parker.
 
I think I need to go to the library tomorrow at school or the city library on Saturday morning to see what this forensic thing is all about! thought Maxine.
 
The next day Maxine decided to finish her lunch early and ask the lunch monitor for a pass to go to the school library. When Maxine entered the library, she walked over to a student computer and began her search for detectives and forensic scientists. Maxine was surprised to learn that uncovering mysteries was one of the oldest sciences in the world. Wow! So solving mysteries involves reviewing pieces of evidence or clues and building a story or opinion around the material piece by piece. This sounds like fun!
 
 
( Continued... )
 
© 2018 All rights reserved.  Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Dr. Lynda Mubarak.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
 
 
Maxine's New Job by Lynda Jones-Mubarak
Download Kindle Link: 
http://a.co/34dskQW
 
 
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr.  Lynda J. Mubarak is a retired special education teacher, facilitator, and adult ESL adjunct who read constantly as a child.  Dr. Lynda is an advocate for early literacy and life long learning. She loves to create stories for young children with an emphasis on community service, global empathy, and human compassion.  She is a graduate of  Texas Christian University, Texas Wesleyan University, Nova Southeastern University and she is an Army veteran.
 
Dr. Lynda is a co-host of The Author’s Lounge Radio Show at the Fish Bowl Radio Network. She enjoys crossword puzzles, live theater, and traveling with her husband, Kairi, and their rescue dogs, Ebony Joyce and Shorty Junior.  Dr. Lynda has established a life-long partnership with the Community Food Bank of Fort Worth, TX. A percentage of all book sales will be donated to the CFB to assist families in need.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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Maxine's New Job by Dr. Lynda J. Mubarak

Shorty and The Sullivans by Lynda Jones Mubarak

Carver Park by Lynda Jones Mubarak

 

 

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Purchase STATIONS: Changing Your Life – Changing Your Career by Dr. Lynda Mubarak
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Stations for Kids Founded by Dr. Lynda J. Mubarak

 

STATIONS FOR KIDS is dedicated to early literacy and community service. The best way to ensure your child's personal and career success is to begin the learning process as soon as possible. Academic success is always necessary, but your child also needs to see how he or she fits into the world community. A combination of community service and applicable educational concepts will give your child a balanced view of the world. 


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CARVER PARK by Dr. Lynda J. Mubarak 
 
Carver Park is a children's non-fiction book appropriate for grades 2 - 4. 
 
 
It would seem that growing up in segregated Waco, Texas in the 1950s would be filled with challenges and disappointments for any African-American child, but little Lynda Jones learned everything about the world near and far from her beloved books and the travels of her father during WWII.  
 
Carver Park gives us a view into the life of one child who found that regardless of society's circumstances, the people in our lives provide us with the knowledge and support required to learn and succeed in a time of great social unrest and historical change.
 
 
 
 
 
Carver Park written by Dr. Lynda Jones Mubarak, illustrated by Eminence System
 
From Goodreads:  It would seem that growing up in segregated Waco, Texas in the 1950s would be filled with challenges and disappointments for any African-American child, but one little girl learned everything possible about the world beyond segregation due to the influences of her family, friends, neighbors and teachers. Waco, TX had its on Black Wall Street in the Bridge Street area and it flourished. Carver Park gives us a view into the life of one child who found that regardless of society’s circumstances, the persons in our lives provide us with the knowledge and support needed to learn, survive and progress during a time of great social unrest and historical change.
 
Carver Park is a fascinating series of reflections on growing up in the segregated black neighborhood of Waco, TX, a city I must shamefully confess I’m more familiar with for the siege with the Branch Davidians. I suspect for teachers and parents my age (and possibly older) that will be the point of reference. Carver Park really replaces that narrative though, with small vignettes of Dr. Mubarak’s childhood in the 1950s. To be honest it reads a lot like the stories my own mother shares about growing up in the same era. The family here just happens to be black and live in a segregated neighborhood.
 
This is the perfect type of book to share during Black History Month. To begin with, it veers away from the typical narrative of exceptional African Americans who pull themselves up by the bootstraps we see touted during this month. Those books have a place and are important, but they feed into the idea that black people have worth and history only as it fits in with slavery, Jim Crow laws, and nonviolent Civil Rights era marches. Carver Park is the kind of book we see about white families all the time and it’s incredibly refreshing to see it reflect a different kind of family for once. It’s a kind of representation that we need to see for black children.
 
That isn’t to say the family doesn’t have its challenges. No mention is made of their SES, so I can’t be sure money wasn’t always a worry for her parents. Nor does she shy away from pointing out that they faced institutional racism and discrimination. They lived in a segregated neighborhood after all. But it’s told from little Lynda’s perspective so those things don’t factor into her perception of growing up in the same way they may now as she reflects back on her childhood as an adult.
 
I especially love the relationship Lynda has with her parents, and her father in particular. He was always careful to explain things to her and make sure she understood what she was seeing and experiencing as a child. Both her parents include her in their day-to-day lives and make a point to do things as family. Also, her dad sews!!! He’s a tailor and it’s so incredible to see a man sewing, a skill that is usually relegated to women if you see it at all in a picture book. I’ll be honest, it’s the kind of book I hope my own daughter would write about our family. It’s so clear how loving and supportive Mubarak’s family was and how, despite what were less than ideal circumstances in a racist world, they helped her see her worth and value and build happy memories.
 
This book is more of an illustrated book than picture book and if I had one suggestion about it, it’s that I wish it was printed in a chapter book form factor instead of the large square picture book format. It’s also not going to be a book that hooks in every reader. It’s quieter and more contemplative. Personally I love that kind of book and I have known plenty of children over the years who also love those types of stories, but be aware of that when recommending it to readers.
 
This would be a great addition to any library, classroom or home collection. Tie it in with Black History Month right now and use it to start a conversation about segregation of our neighborhoods. I recommend it for older audiences, second grade up, simply because the text is longer and will require longer attention span and/or higher reading level skills.
 
 
 
 
Purchase CARVER PARK by Dr. Lynda J. Mubarak
Children's Books > Picture Book > Geography & Cultures > Where We Live > City Life
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

SHORTY & THE SULLIVANS by Lynda Jones Mubarak 

Shorty and The Sullivans is a children's book appropriate for grades 1-4.

Shorty and The Sullivans is a children's story that demonstrates how a friendship can develop from some very unusual circumstances. It also teaches young children that one should not make judgements based on appearance including color or size. The message of the story emphasizes that observation over a period of time will often determine the true value of a situation.
 
 
Order Shorty and The Sullivans by Lynda Jones-Mubarak 
 
 
 
 
SHORTY & THE SULLIVANS BOOK REVIEW
Written by  The @ Home Librarian 
Diversify your home library collection and encourage others to do the same.
 
 
 
 
ShortyShorty and the Sullivans written by Lynda Jones-Mubarak, illustrated by M. Ridho Mentarie
 
From Goodreads: Meet The Sullivans, an African American couple in their early 50s. They do not have children, but they do have a big, black dog named Ebony Joyce who they sometimes call Ebony J. In this story, the Sullivans discover that sympathy, empathy and compassion can emerge from very small events, and that sometimes, the best friendships can develop from very unusual circumstances.
 
Shorty and the Sullivans is another sweet, gentle book from Dr. Linda Mubarak. It’s a story full of heart and compassion. From a collection development perspective, this book has the kind of representation we should be looking for and demanding in our picture books. The Sullivans are a kind older couple who, in the course of the story, take in a young pup. At its heart Shorty and the Sullivans is just a story about dogs and the Sullivans are unremarkably black. It’s the kind of story we see all the time with white (and straight and two-parent and cisgender) families and characters but rarely see with anyone else. This kind of representation is so desperately needed because it normalizes families that aren’t white and doesn’t fall victim to somehow painting whiteness as normal and default. The publisher, Melanin Origins, strives to provide this representation as well as providing affirmation for children of color and shedding light on forgotten or unfairly obscure historical figures. Yet the book isn’t a political statement for its target audience, nor does it need to be.

So, will kids like it? In a word, yes. It’s a book about two dogs and their humans. Kids love stories about dogs. Case in point, when the book showed up on our doorstep my daughter immediately noticed the dogs on the cover and began asking what the book was about and if we could read it right then and there. For adults who need more substance than just dogs, it’s also a lovely lesson in empathy as Mrs. Sullivan takes in the homeless puppy and the family learns to incorporate the new family member. The text is on the longer side in this book so I recommend it for classrooms and libraries that serve slightly older children, first through third grade. But I definitely encourage you to check it out and add it to your collections.

 


Purchase Shorty and The Sullivans by Lynda Jones-Mubarak 
Age Range: 5 - 9 years   |    Grade Level: 1-4   |   Paperback: 60 pages
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

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