Return to site

Engaging Children's Book For Summer Reading!


Christina Francine, Waldorf Publishing, 2020, US$6.99, C$10.99, Leveled Reader 3, 9781647648800

Mr. Inker, a classy pen, finds himself alone in the office and party supply shop, wondering if he will ever find a home. When young Rafiq opens up his birthday present and finds Mr. Inker, he tells his Grandfather he has never had a pen of his own before. Meanwhile we learn that Rafiq has only been in America for one month and he misses his friends from his birth country, Pakistan. When Mr. Inker comes to life, growing arms and legs, Rafiq remarks that he has “a very special pen, indeed.” Mr. Inker brags that he will never have to be thrown away, since he is fancy, and his ink and eraser may be replaced if they no longer work. Rafiq jokes that he might call him Mr. Inker the Stinker which raises a laugh. When Mr. Inker notices Rafiq’s sad face, Rafiq mentions how much he misses his home and old friends. He encourages Rafiq to pull open a page from his notebook and write a joke.Then he invites Rafiq to write a letter to a friend in Pakistan. When Rafiq counters with his idea of writing on the internet, Mr. Inker points out that penning the letter in person will help him improve his English and also provide a unique experience for his friend: not only will he have a solid piece of paper that Rafiq has touched, but he will be able to write a letter back to him.


Engagingly told through the pen’s point of view, this reader conveys the connection a young Pakistani immigrant boy named Rafiq finds with his writing tool—not merely an instrument who becomes a companion, but also a little being who helps him find a link with the homeland he misses so much. In addition, the author cleverly inserts the theme of literacy. By writing the letter rather than typing it on computer, he will learn English by composing the letters and words to his dear friend at home.The character of Mr. Inker becomes a friend, guide, and mentor for young Rafiq, a bridge from his old life and language to the new America. This reader provides all of us a compelling window into cultural sensitivity and love of learning for the many immigrant children we teach and treasure.

--Gini Grossenbacher, M.Ed.