Book Review: Life Lessons from Andy Wink

Written By Steve Paulding; Illustrated by Ben Spurgin

By Reviewed by Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock Publisher January 11, 2012

One of the suggestions we received from our reader survey was to do more book reviews. We have many talented children's authors here in Colorado, so we hope to offer a new book each month, written by a local author. 

Andy Wink is a more-mature-than-average Colorado 6th grader. The book is written like a memoir. Rather than one long story, each individual chapter stands on its own. Andy's "Life Lessons" are realistic challenges that tweens are faced with every day. Although the book is written from the perspective of a boy, the challenges are not gender-specific. The book is enjoyable to read and fast-paced. My 8-year-old was thoroughly engrossed in the stories.

Andy Wink's character is smart, funny, and kind. He's the kind of kid a mom hopes her kid turns out to be. The situations Andy talks about are very relatable -- I think kids age 8-13 would connect with Andy the most. Some of the chapters, like "Spring Break," are light and funny while others, like "My Grandpa," are emotional and thought-provoking. Topics covered include puberty, death, heaven, jealousy, friendship, risk-taking, responsibility, caring, and more. Because of the wide variety of subjects, I encourage parents to read the book with (or at the same time as) their children. Discussing the book together will open the door to some great conversations, and give parents and kids the chance to talk about their values in relation to the topics.

About the Author: Steve Paulding has been a teacher in the Douglas County School District since 1998. When he's not teaching, you can find Steve directing and acting in theatrical productions throughout the Denver area. Steve lives in Parker, where he contines to be inspired by his many students, family, and friends.