Published on February 23rd, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
District Five fourth grader becomes published book reviewer
Pictured: Chapin Elementary School fourth grader Ashley Fowlkes
CHAPIN – Chapin Elementary fourth grader Ashley Fowlkes knows you can’t judge a book by its cover – she did that when she was “younger.”
“Now, I ask and look around…read a lot of book series,” Fowlkes said. “A good book tells a good story. It can be serious or not serious. Once you’re reading you don’t want to stop when you have a good book.”
It’s this precocious knack for picking good books and the fact that she’s read over 150 books in her school library alone that helped Fowlkes win a recent nationwide book review contest by Scholastic Storyworks. Her book review on Almost Home by Joan Bauer is published online in the “Reviews by You” section of the February/March edition of the popular subscription-based educational tool.
“We’re so excited for Ashley,” her fourth grade teacher, Lennie Tucker, said. “She’s an avid reader, strong writer and a great student, so I’m not surprised that her review was selected…We submitted several book reviews to Scholastic, and when I heard that Ashley’s was selected we were just very proud of her and her work on the book review. Not all of us will be published, but I think having her book review published will encourage Ashley and all the students to continue reading and writing.
Published by Scholastic magazine, Storyworks contains stories and exercises aimed at supplementing school’s language arts curricula. In the review, Fowlkes describes the book as “a sad but good story” that “follows the journey of a little girl and her dog.” She gives the book a good rating because it made her feel like she “had been changed.” “This book makes me want to be a better person,” Fowlkes wrote.
A regular in the school and county libraries, Fowlkes’ passion for reading started very early on, her mother Kelly Fowlkes said.
“I have always been an avid reader. When I found out I was pregnant with Ashley, I started purchasing books for her…and then once she arrived we would read throughout the day and every night before bed,” she said. “I’m pretty sure that is why she enjoys it so much.”
Searching the shelves of the Chapin Elementary library in February, Fowlkes knows exactly where most of her favorite books are stored.
“Ashley definitely knows her way around our library,” said media specialist Sue Odom , perusing the shelves with Fowlkes. “Together we try to find new books, and she asks about new books that have come in.”
“Maybe one day, we’ll have a Fowlkes book series?” Odom asks the fourth grader.
Fowlkes smiles at the idea. She says she never thought about a possible career in publishing, “but a job reading and writing? …I would probably love to read and write all day.”