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Book Review: Rosy Cole’s Memoir Explosion

Some children’s books speak as easily to adults as to kids. Shiela Greenwald’s latest chapter book, Rosy Cole’s Memoir Explosion, in the Rosy Cole series tells a story that speaks to all writers, especially those intent on telling it the way it really happened. Read on and see what you think of the idea and how Greenwald developed and shaped the story….

What do you do when your child has devoured all the Ramona books on the shelves? Find Rosy Cole and read her latest adventure, Rosy Cole’s Memoir Explosion. Poor Rosy, she hasn’t been invited to her friend Deb’s birthday party and so she pours her heart out in her journal. But when her teacher, Mrs. Oliphant, tells the class to write a story about the most interesting person in her life, Rosy realizes she doesn’t have even one. Alas, her living relatives are “hopeless.”

When her college-going older sister, Pippa, suggests she write a memoir, Rosy is encouraged. Her enthusiasm is bolstered by her sister’s suggestion to use the book Write Your Life: A How-to Guide for Memoir. Despite her teacher’s warning that she might be tempted to “exaggerate the truth for a better story” and the trouble that lies in wait, Rosy plunges ahead.

Using her guidebook’s checklist for writing a truly great memoir, Rosy searches for all the necessary ingredients: Talent, Tears, Turning Points; Romantic Relationships; Confronting Demons; Overcoming Obstacles; Family Feuds; Rising Above Failure; A Never-Before-Told Secret; and Reader Sympathy. In doing so, she embraces the power found in writing a memoir, while confronting the reaction of family and friends. Before the assignment is finished, Rosy must contend with lost friends, few family members left talking to her, and the blow-up of what may have blown the sort-of only romance she had brewing. Of course, she can also kiss good-bye any birthday party invitation.

While the book is clearly written for children, adults will enjoy the gentle way Greenwald pokes fun at writers, and, in particular, memoirists. Considering the recent hubbub in the publishing world, memoir writers would do well to remember Mrs. Oliphant’s warnings about exaggeration and the potential for lying.

Another aspect of the book is Greenwald’s illustrations. Just as the perfect picture book’s illustrations add to the text and layer the story, Greenwald’s light and sometimes wry line-drawings add the perfect dimension to an already delightful tale.

The Rosy Cole chapter books are for grades 2-5 and highly recommended. If you have a writer on your holiday gift-giving list, you might want to consider this one if you want a fun gift.

Note: This review has been cross-posted on and referenced in an review. You can find other reviews on this site under the “Books and Review” category category, or go to my Blogcritics page. Check out other chapter books.

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