Author: Mary Hoffman
Illustrator: Caroline Binch
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Audience: Ages 4-8
Summary: Grace has a vibrant creative imagination and she likes to enter into her story world and pretend to be the main character of the stories she encounters. Grace’s teacher decided that they would do the play Peter Pan. Grace decided she wanted to be the main character—Peter Pan. She is told by her classmates that she could not play Peter Pan because she is black and a girl. With the support of her grandmother and her mother Grace realizes that she can be anything she wanted to be. Grace auditions and is awarded the role of Peter Pan.
Literary elements at work in the story:
- Genre: narrative
- Setting: African American girl in an integrated elementary school setting
- Characterization: Grace, an African American girl is portrayed as loving stories and who has the gift of bringing these stories to life through a creative imagination.
- Plot: Graces uses her God given gift to overcome a gender and ethnic stereotype that her classmates placed on the role of Peter Pan.
- Theme: You can be anything that you want to be if you set your mind to it and not allow barriers such as gender and race to get in the way.
- Point of View: The story is written through the lens of Grace. When Grace’s grandmother introduced her to the black Juliet, she came to her own realization that she can be anything that she wanted to be.
- Style: Told in a third person voice with vibrant and colorful illustrations showing Grace’s vivid imagination at work in her many roles adapted from different stories.
- Gender and race: gender and race friendly with no gender or racial stereotyping
- Culture: culturally non-specific. The author could have easily used any ethnicity to portray Grace.
- Ability: Grace’s ability to enter into her story world is probably more developed than the average population. Her ability is not limited by her gender or the color of her skin.
Scripture: 1 Cor12:4
Theology: Each of us is wonderfully made in the sight of God and each of us are given our individual gifts. In God’s sight we are all created equally. It is possible for Grace, an African American girl to believe that she can be anything that she wants to be, with hard work.
Faith Talk Questions:
1) We are all one body but God gives us different gifts to make up the whole. How can we be equal if God made us all different?
2) The play was only possible when each character played his/her part and used his/her gift to the best of their ability. How do we see this at work in our congregation? Can you name some different roles that you see in the church?
Review by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Dee Osbourne-Smart
Amazing Grace by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.