Score: 94+/100 (9.4+ out of 10)
Pearl's Life is the second in a series of powerful, heartwreching, heartwarming children's books by Tuula Pere. This series follows Jacob, a young boy who has just become the big brother to a sister who was born severely disabled and with a low probability of survival.
Despite this, Jacob takes this all in stride—he is proud and excited for the opportunity and privilege of being a big brother regardless of his sister's health or what she looks like. It's beautiful and powerful how deeply Jacob and his family care for Pearl, the newborn, and how they love and accept her no matter what. This is unconditional love!
Jacob really is one of the best characters we've seen in a children's book. Yes, there's an aura of innocence and naivety to him, but he's such a loving, caring, compassionate, and understanding good boy. He is a terrific role model and example for kids to follow.
One of the greatest things about this book in particular is the scene in which Jacob chooses to show off his little sister to his classmates at school, knowing that many of them will be ignorant of her condition, tease him (or her), and may treat them differently or poorly. Many people with disabilities face this kind of discrimination and maltreatment as we saw in Always Orchid by Carol Van Den Hende. Jacob doesn't allow this to dissuade him, and instead uses this as an opportunity to educate and enlighten his classmates.
People fear what they don't know or understand. Disabilities are one of those things that, because they are more rare, are often viewed as strange or bizarre by the public. However, as we saw in Valiance by Vanessa Caraveo, people with disabilities can surprise us.
Pearl, even as a newborn, is able to surprise Jacob and their families with her brief facial reactions/expressions. She is also able to share a little ice cream with Jacob in the middle of summer. Miraculously, Pearl is able to make it to her first birthday by the end of this book, a truly triumphant and spectacular moment.
This series continues to charm and impress us with its heart and soul.
Check it out on Amazon!