Children's Book Reviews

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Helping Children

My passion is helping children, and my goal is to do that through my own writing and art. It stems from my being abused as a child. Like many children I was made to be quiet, so quiet I didn't even know I had been abused. As an adult fragments of memories came to the surface, memories I can't even prove, but they were so strong I know they are real. And, the perpetrator, a relative has long ago passed away. As a teacher too I saw many cases of abuse and neglect in the children I taught, some I could help directly, others I just had to hope and pray that they would be helped at some point. That's why when this excellent book about a parrot who saves children came through my mailbox I was eager to review it. I've spoken with Officer Mike, a soft-spoken man, also with passion in his voice for catching the "baddies." I am so thankful he cares so much. Don't you wish there were more super hero parrots out there saving each and every child in this world from emotional, mental, and physical abuse as well as neglect, homelessness, starvation, and lack of medical help? I do!
The Adventures of Officer Byrd, Get Help!
How can a macaw (parrot) from the rainforest of South America become a police officer in Los Angeles? You’ll enjoy reading this exciting, helpful book about Officer Byrd to discover how and why. Office Byrd’s mission and passion is to help kids. Oh, yes, he also has super powers! Like a true super hero, he uses his powers for good to catch the bad guys, especially those who harm children.

Author Mike Simonsen, Officer Mike in the book, has the same passion as his pet macaw. His goal is to stop abusers
of children. As a result, he has written this first in a planned series of books about Officer Mike and Officer Byrd in the L.A.P.D. In real life, they present programs to schoolchildren through their Officer Byrd Non-profit organization.

Accompanying the Mike’s suspenseful text are detailed, action-oriented illustrations created by Stephanus Dharma. The pictures are fun and informative, adding much to the text. Readers will enjoy seeing the computer generated illustrations from photos. You feel like you are not only right in the rain forest and Los Angeles, but that you know the main characters as friends and protectors.

This is a much-needed and highly important book for children of any school age from pre-school through upper grades. As well parents, grandparents, teacher, caregivers, counselors, and authorities in law and law enforcement, indeed anyone connected with children, will be well informed by this book. Units in the class and discussions with children can be based on it. Kudos to Michael Simonsen and Stephanus Dharma for helping our children through this book and their presentations! Extra applause to the real Officer Byrd! (See link for Officer Byrd's website)


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