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Meet “Janine” and her Spectacular Self #bookreview



Janine Book Review- So Awesome!

My Review:

This book helped my daughter a lot.  It was like it was meant for her to read it and figure somethings out at school.  There is a group of girls at my daughter’s school she really wants to hang out with but they pick on her. They call her names and make fun of her feet- my daughter was born with extreme club feet.  She has had numerous surgeries but still walks a bit inward. We were having party and she invited all these girls then two days before the party they all told her they weren’t coming.  She was devastated and wanted to cancel.  We got this book and read it that day.  She decided she was would ask other kids in the neighborhood and guess what we had the best party ever!  My daughter knows she is something SPECTACULAR because we tell her all the time.  She is so gifted in ways I wish I was.  We highly recommend and appreciate this book a lot! 


In March 2015, Albert Whitman & Company (Park Ridge, IL) will proudly publish veteran author-illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler’s Janine, a sweet and personal story inspired by her own daughter’s life as a child with disabilities.

Janine stars a fun-loving girl with a contagious upbeat attitude. Janine is one of a kind.She talks to her imaginary friends, reads the dictionary for fun, uses lots of big words, and remembers unusual facts. Some kids think she’s strange and don’t want her to come to their “cool” party unless she changes. Janine stands up for her spectacular self and ends up changing the attitudes of her classmates.

Maryann’s daughter, Janine, was the inspiration for this delightfully spunky character and the story itself, which is based on a bullying incident Janine experienced. Janine Leffler, who bravely gave her mother permission to tell her story, focuses on the positive while navigating life with disabilities. She has become a role model to children and adults, encouraging them to focus on abilities and promoting respect, tolerance, and kindness.

Cocca-Leffler states, “Through my book, Janine, I hope to encourage kids to celebrate their differences and stand up for themselves, as well as inspire all children to stand up for those who are left out or bullied.”

Maryann Cocca-Leffler has written and illustrated over 50 children’s books and lives and works in New Hampshire. Her spring 2015 school visit program is entitled Stand Up, Inspire, Include & Invite. She and Janine are available to come to schools, libraries, bookstores, and beyond to help get children excited about reading and writing, inspire those with challenges, and encourage acceptance of all.

To learn more about what you can do to help change public perception of children with disabilities visit, where everyone’s invited! For more about Maryann Cocca-Leffler, visit her at

Albert Whitman & Company has been publishing award-winning children’s books since 1919. Best known for the classic series The Boxcar Children® Mysteries, its highly praised picture books, novels, and nonfiction titles succeed in delighting and reaching out to children and teens of all backgrounds and experiences. Visit for the entire list of available titles.

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Sandra Watts

Friday 13th of March 2015

I love kids books. I keep getting them for my Kindle to read to the grand kids and I think I have read most of them by myself already, lol.

Terri S.

Friday 13th of March 2015

Today, we hear so much on TV about the devastating effects of bullying on kids. I think every school library should have a copy of this book. I love the cover - it grabbed my attention right away. My granddaughter would enjoy reading Janine.

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