Rock Star (Jada Jones #1)

by Kelly Starling Lyons (Author) Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Illustrator)

Rock Star (Jada Jones #1)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Jada Jones

Fans of Princess Posey and Ivy and Bean will enjoy engaging with science-loving Jada Jones in this easy-to-read chapter book.

When Jada Jones's best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She'd much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada's teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she's in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn't seem to like any of Jada's ideas. She doesn't seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?  

The early chapter book bridges between leveled readers and chapter books for fluent readers adjusting to the chapter book format. At about 5,000 words, with short chapters and two-color art on almost every page, it will appeal to this unique reader. The two-color art throughout will help readers transition from the familiar four-color art of leveled readers and ease them into black-and-white chapter books.
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School Library Journal

Gr 1-3--Jada Jones is a fourth grader who loves rocks. In this installment, Jada's best friend and fellow rock lover has moved, and Jada is struggling with making new friends. Her hopes are brightened considerably when her teacher informs the class that they will be working on a science project about rocks and minerals. At first, things do not go well because Jada is working with two girls who are best friends. Simone is afraid that Jada will steal her BFF. Eventually, the girls work out their differences, become friends, and present a project of "awesome" rock stars. Though the plot is familiar, it is one that early elementary students will relate to and enjoy. The main characters are what set this title apart in the chapter book field: they are all girls of color who love science. Readers who love "Ivy and Bean" or "Katie Woo" will want to meet Jada Jones. VERDICT With a nice balance of friendship, drama, and the much-needed representation of girls of color who revel in scientific pursuits, this is a strong purchase for most collections.--Peggy Henderson Murphy, Wyandot Elementary School, Dublin, OH

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Jada Jones, an African-American fourth grader who lives in Raleigh, N.C., isn't looking forward to starting the new school year without her best friend Mari, who has moved out of town. But luckily for Jada, who's a devoted rock hunter, a monthlong class project that focuses on rocks gives her a chance to dive into her geological passion--and maybe make new friends in two of her classmates, Lena and Simone. In this first title in the Jada Jones series, Lyons writes with keen sensitivity about the big emotions surrounding school friendships, especially when Jada comes to understand that Simone has been hostile to her because she believes Jada is stealing Lena away from her. Final art not seen by PW. Simultaneously available: Class Act. Ages 6-8. Author's agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Sept.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere." —Kirkus

"Readers who love "Ivy and Bean" or "Katie Woo" will want to meet Jada Jones." —School Library Journal
Kelly Starling Lyons
Kelly Starling Lyons (she/her) is the award-winning author of the Jada Jones and Ty's Travels series and picture books including Sing a Song: How "Lift Every Voice & Sing" Inspired Generations and Hope's Gift. She lives in North Carolina. Find out more at

Wayne C. Spencer (he/him) is a cartoonist, illustrator, and dinosaur enthusiast. He graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he nurtured an abiding compulsion to draw characters and tell stories about them. Originally from North Carolina, he currently lives in Florida with two powerful daughters and a mighty wife.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Penguin Workshop
Publication date
September 19, 2017
Jada Jones
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV036000 - Juvenile Fiction | Science & Technology
JUV035000 - Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
JUV045000 - Juvenile Fiction | Readers | Chapter Books
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship
Friendship in children
Best friends
African American children
Collection and preservation
JUVENILE FICTION / Readers / Chapter Books
JUVENILE FICTION / Science & Technology

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