This book was provided to me by the author via a PDF file in exchange for an honest review through Booktasters.
A Rocky Start is the story of a boy who grew up not finishing anything. Based on author Anthony Tucker's own life, the book follows our main character into adulthood when he discovers his passion and learns that he can finish what he puts his mind to.
This book is a very simple yet powerful retelling of an important story. Before the book begins, Tucker gives us a foreword to set the stage for why he decided to write this book. He explains that this story is for kids who grow up in poor, urban communities who are in need of success stories and role models. This book is a great stepping stone to fix that problem.
The story itself is very simple, but has some very powerful points to make. To start, there is a certain expectation put on kids shoulders when it comes to deciding what they want to do when they grow up. Tucker addresses this in the foreword. Our nameless character spends a lot of time lacking motivation simply because he does not know what he wants to do with his life. Then, he doesn't make a decision until he is a full grown adult. Not only that but the decision came when the character is just living his life, "hanging out on the block." It shows that your passion can arrive out of the blue in everyday circumstances, and that anyone can discover their dream. This book says, hey, it took him a little while. You can figure it out too. There are many kids who feel the same way and this book may help them in seeing a character who is similar to themselves. The book puts a strong emphasis on passion before anything else. It is discovering his passion that brings our character success.
On top of this, the book has this uplifting theme that if this character can put his mind to something and finish it, so can you. You too can follow your dreams and accomplish your goals. This is a very empowering and important statement for kids who maybe don't receive this type of encouragement on a daily basis.
The books illustrations by Breanne Carlson are also compelling. Sticking to a color scheme of rich browns and orangey-yellows, the images that accompany the story pop in their distinct style.
Overall, this is a great story and an important story. Kids books are a challenge to write, especially one of this nature. It can walk a fine line of talking down to a child. It is a lesson vs. telling a good story. This book manages to do both. Tucker gives us a compelling character that a child can relate to while also giving them an empowering message to take with them as they grow older.
A Rocky Start is an excellent children's book.