The book describes what happens when Neeka comes home from school and finds a furry surprise on her parents’ bed. What she thinks is a pair of brown socks turns out to be a sleeping squirrel.
When the squirrel sees Neeka, he is terribly frightened and tries to find a way to escape. Neeka is also afraid, but with her family’s help, she faces her fears and sets the squirrel free—after he’s had a good time exploring their house.
“The book is designed as an easy reader for elementary school kids but may also be used for the preliterate,” Harris said. “I knew this would make a fascinating story for children, as it actually happened to my daughters Neeka and Angela during their childhood.”
The book has received critical acclaim, with Foreword and Clarion Reviews describing the book as “an enjoyable and inventive story, offering an amusing reaction to a startling event, that will certainly appeal to young audiences.”
“Neeka and the Squirrel Highway” will not only entertain children, but also teach them how to face their fears and overcome them.
MY THOUGHTS: I can’t stress enough how much I loved this book!
The illustrations are simply gorgeous. Each page is beautifully drawn with incredible detail and realism. Every reader can truly feel a connection to the story through these amazing depictions.
As for the story itself, Mr. Harris has done an incredible job of writing from the viewpoints of both the child and her parents. Both see the world differently and Mr. Harris nailed those differences. Here, we see a family, filled with love, who are guiding their children through the obstacles of the rights and wrongs in life. Instead of simply discarding one squirrel, they take the time to show their children the value of that one life. It’s a beautiful message.
Through the squirrel’s adventure into their home, Neeka learns that she can make a difference, as an individual, by showing compassion and thinking of others’ feelings. Her parents teach her that she shouldn’t let her fears keep her from doing the right thing. It’s a powerful life lesson and such an important one for today’s children.
Hopefully, Mr. Harris will pen many more books whether they be about Neeka or other, thoughtful children. We need more of these books in the hands of young readers. Fabulous! I give it 5 stars and a round of applause.
About the author
Charlie Wes Harris was born and grew up in Auburn, Alabama. His career has been divided between academic and US Government service in Washington, DC. He was Senior Specialist (GS-18, prior SES) and Division Chief at the Congressional Research Service. He is former professor and associate dean at Howard University along with part-time professor at Georgetown University. Harris has authored five scholarly books and monographs and a lead article in the Catholic University Law Review. This is his first book of fiction and his first book for children. He is the father of two adult daughters and has five grandchildren.
**Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.