Dara Palmer’s Major Drama by Emma Shevah

Dara Palmer’s Major Drama by Emma Shevah

Release Date: August 6, 2015
Illustrated by: Helen Crawford-White
Publisher: Chicken House
Rated: MG 11+
Format: ARC
Source: Pansing
Buy: Available at all good bookstores!

Eleven-year-old Dara is a born actress, or so she thinks, but when she doesn't get any role at all in the school production, she begins to think it may be because she doesn't look like the other girls in her class. She was adopted as a baby from Cambodia. So irrepressible Dara comes up with a plan and is determined to change not just the school, but the world too.

Dara Palmer’s Major Drama has got to be one of the cutest books EVER. I’m not just talking about the story either. The actual format and illustrations bordering the writing, and some of the typography as well–this was LITERALLY a bundle of joy. This was another book in the huge stack that Pansing sent for review, and I hadn’t heard of it before I received it. I’m so glad I got the chance to read it because it’s absolutely fabulous, you guys. For an acting geek like me (oh, the theatre! The lights, the dialogue, the stage!), this was a perfect fit. Why? Well why don’t we take a little trip down memory lane... (my memory, that is)

6TH GRADE (the Philippines): On a whim, I decided to audition for a play. I got into not one, but TWO plays that year. One was a musical and the other was a piece that I got to fly to New Delhi in India to perform as part of an international schools theatre program (ISTA). From this point on, theatre was always going to be in my life.

7TH GRADE (Canada): I believe this was the first time the older grades (7-11) got to put on a production. 12 Angry Men, to be exact. I got the role of foreman and got special mention since I was the youngest person to get a “larger” role. Cool, huh?

8TH GRADE (still Canada): Because of the success of the previous year, yet another play was put on: Lord of the Flies–an all-female cast. This time, for me, there was no need to audition. The role of Piggy went to me, straight away. I was thrilled because it was the 3rd biggest role in the play and the only other people with really big roles were in the 11th or 12th grade. Yay me!

9TH GRADE (Singapore): Feeling confident that I would be getting a part, I auditioned with all I got. Or at least, that’s what I thought. End result? Didn’t get in. And I wouldn’t get into another play until grade 11.

So, you see? Dara and I are kindred spirits. Like Dara, I came to realise that just because I was great and got all the parts before didn’t mean I would always. I learned that there was so much more to acting like she does in the book. 

Another reason why this was such an amazing book was that it was about a girl who looks different from the rest of her family. I know quite a few people who have been adopted, and I’m sad that there are not many books out there about adopted children, which needs to change, because it’s important that children can see themselves in the books they read, especially at a young age. This book is such a blessing, because through Dara’s character, many of the questions and emotions that adopted children have about themselves comes up, like how they’re set apart from their family, how they’re curious about their past but may never find out who exactly their real parents are, and so on. It’s quite a challenging topic, but it’s definitely a necessary one to address. 

Featuring a super dramatic (and super adorable) heroine, Dara Palmer’s Major Drama is a wonderful story I’m sure readers of all ages will enjoy. Touching upon adoption, rejection, and taking charge of your life, Emma Shevah’s latest book, complete with cute illustrations by Helen Crawford-White, is both hilarious and moving. Don’t hesitate to pick this one up!

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ ▪

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1 comment:

  1. Wait, are you Filipino?!?! I ask coz I am too!

    Or are you an army/expat brat?

    It's always cool when the characters feels personal to us. It's almost like they're telling our story.


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