Author: Andrea Beaty
Illustrator: David Roberts
Publisher: Abrams Books
Details: 40 pages; £8.11
Straight away, I knew I was going to like Sofia Valdez, Future Prez – a book about a strong girl getting things done – and Andrea Beaty did not disappoint. Sofia is, as Beaty writes: “A dreamer. A doer. A real-life go-getter. Most people like good, but Sofia liked better.”
After a family member injures themselves chasing their dog over a mountain of junk referred to as Mt. Trashmore, Sofia takes it upon herself to get rid of the rubbish forever, and instead, have the mountain turned into a public park. However, no one seems to want to help: “They all thought Sofia could build it alone! But how could one girl do so much on her own?”.
The fact that the pile of trash just magically disappears does make it slightly unbelievable, which, honestly, spoiled the story for me. Also, the title of the book originally made me think it may be about a different topic entirely. However, I loved the rhythm and rhyme of this book, and know my class did, too.
The overall message of the book is an important one for children in our classrooms today. Beaty encourages her readers to stand up for what they believe in, and teaches them to not give up at the first sign of failure. While Beaty’s other stories often feature a discussion around science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, in Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, she departs from that and instead tackles social themes and encourages a caring, emphatic and creative focus. For adults wanting to encourage any of those in youngsters, this is a must-have book.
Jess Sinnott is a Year 2 teacher at Berrow Church of England Primary School in Somerset
‘Sofia helps people’
"The story was about Sofia. Sofia built a park. Sofia helps people. I liked the book. Sofia is helpful."
Thomas, aged 7
‘She got things done by trying hard’
"Sofia couldn’t do it but she got things done by trying hard. Sofia was my favourite character because she worked hard for everyone. My favourite part was when she built the park for her friends and neighbours. I liked them."
Violet, aged 6
‘Sofia is a strong and brave girl’
Sofia wanted to help her neighbours with her Abuelo [grandfather]. On the way to school, Abuelo hurt his foot chasing a dog over landfill. So, Sofia wanted to clear the landfill up and change it into a park for her neighbours. City hall said no, so Sofia told them what she wanted to do. They told her to start a petition and then the park got built. Sofia is my favourite because she is nice and kind and she wanted to help her Abuelo. I like the book because Sofia is a strong and brave girl who is very kind. My favourite part is when everybody helps to build the park. The book is nice and happy. Sofia is very inspirational."
Miley, aged 6
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