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Amoya's Accent

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Moving to a new country can be hard and Amoya is finding that out firsthand! Not only is the cold chilling her to the bone, but her new classmates are also making fun of the way she talks. Amoya stands up for herself, but will that be enough to fix the situation? Amoya's Accent takes a look into why people sound different from each other and the power of a sharing circle.

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Amoya's Big Move

June 5th, 2018

I am extremely proud to share my first book with you. My close friends, teacher-friends, and family,  know how much work I put into getting this book ready for release and publication. It took many proofreads, many revisions, and many drafts!  I’m so excited to finally share Amoya's Big Move with a wider audience! I hope it resonates with you!

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About Me

Growing up, I could always be found with my face in a book. While my friends were painting their nails at our sleepovers, I would be diving into their bookshelves. I'd read just about anything, picture books, novels, Nat Geo; you name it!

As a Language Arts teacher, I share my love for reading with my students on a daily basis. I was inspired to write my story when I saw how interested my students were when we read a book about a little girl visiting her dad in Ghana. It resonated with my students from many different countries! We talked about the foods we had in common, the activities we did back home, even the plants we saw in the pictures. The most excitement came with the kids realizing that the main character, a little Black girl, could be them!  I wanted to write my story so they could identify with yet another character in a book, a character that looked like them,  a character that knew what it was like to see your home for what could be the very last time. As the population of non-native English speakers grew in my school, it provided the push that I needed. 

My school boasts a Spanish/English dual language immersion program,. My Master's degree is in bilingual education, so it made sense to make my book bilingual as well. It provides a great opportunity for all readers to be exposed  to, and to be able to practice reading in Spanish. Patois is also included in the dialogue because that is what we speak at home. It's another part of me that I wanted to share.

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This spring, Dahlia Richards, 5th grade teacher visited 2nd and 3rd grader students at KA for a special author visit! Ms. Richards published a beautiful picture book about immigrating from Jamaica to Chicago as a child. She spoke with students about her book, Amoya's Big Move, and discussed topics related to immigration, family, and Jamaican culture.

"We have been lucky to have authors come and visit before, but it was very evident how the students really connected to Ms. Richards and her story. We have a large population of students who have ties to Jamaica and it was great to see how excited those students were to see/meet an author who is similar to them."

District 65 High Five Recognition

3rd Grade teacher at King Arts

This is a great story about saying good-bye. Richards does a wonderful job in sharing the details of Jamaica as you read about the day she moves to the United States. This book has everything-English and Spanish translations, the Jamaican dialect, beautiful illustrations of characters of color,  a glossary, and even a recipe for Jamaican Fried Dumplings! This is a nice add to any young person's library.

I love the way this story captures the energy and emotions of the day of Amoya's big move. The story literally moves Amoya and the reader from her last day at home in Jamaica through the town and to the airport - along the way there are joyful good wishes and tearful good-byes and glimpses at Amoya's daily life and favorite foods. The illustrations and the characters are full of life and color, and we find ourselves wishing Amoya and her family the best of luck as they start their new life in America! This story is universal and a must read for any child - it will provide windows and mirrors for everyone.



Amoya's Big Move is a story of a family moving from Jamaica to Chicago told from the point of view of a little girl, Amoya. It's moving day and time to say goodbye to her old life for a new, unknown one in America. There's friends, family and most importantly, food to miss! The illustrations are vibrant and reflective of the colors one would see in Jamaica. The swirling blue of the endpapers can be found throughout the book, cascading a beautiful sky. Test your culinary skills by making Jamaican Fried Dumplings, there's a recipe in the back of the book. For those fortunate enough to be bilingual, Amoya's Big Move is written in English and Spanish. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy Amoya's journey and will be left in anticipation of her arrival and next adventure in Chicago.

Mindy Perry, Dawes Librarian

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Topics of Discussion

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Why do people move?

How did you feel about moving?

Has someone moved away from you?
How did you feel about staying?

What's your favorite thing about where you've moved to?

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