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Book Review: Sydney Clair’s Season of Change – A Friendship Story (Girls ‘n Grace Collection) by Pam Davis

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Sydney Clair's Season of Change: A Friendship Story is one of the debut titles of the Girls 'n Grace Collection, created by author Pam Davis. Davis originally conceived of this series of inspirational titles for Christian girls when the American Girl franchise aligned itself with organizations that supported a pro-left agenda that included homosexuality and abortion. Davis began to consider how the time our daughter’s spend in play and recreation can be used to lead them into a deeper relationship with Christ, to nurture their faith, to demonstrate what it means to be a girl of grace. Girls 'n Grace was born – a collection of both contemporary historical and internationally based fiction stories for girls.

In Sydney Clair's Season of Change, we are introduced to Sydney Clair, a 10 -year-old girl growing up in Texas during the tumultuous 1960s. Sydney Clair finds herself in the midst of turmoil as her older sisters leaves home for college and she comes to understand the implications of lingering racial segregation in the south. Told from the perspective of this young girl, the radical and often shocking events of the 60s are portrayed in a fairly subdued style – considering the many issues at play during the decade. Due to this style of storytelling, children will be gently introduced to the injustices the Civil Rights movement sought to correct.

Sydney Clair finds herself needing to make difficult choices, and realizes that she has made some wrong decisions. Turning to her parents for advice, they help her see the situation in light of God’s word. Watching Sydney Clair learning to walk Christ’s way despite the social fallout and implications is a powerful example to young girls of following Jesus without reservation and despite personal cost.

Our family read this title aloud together. While the book is recommended for age 6 and older, I would recommend this particular title for age 10 and older if they are reading without adult commentary. My 5-year-old found some of the social concepts difficult to understand at her age, and required thorough discussion to understand the issues.

Reading this title with my daughter brought home the deeply personal ways that racial segregation affected the lives of everyone in the southern U.S. Seen through the eyes of an innocent child, the impact seems to be felt on a more intimate level than if it were otherwise portrayed. However, the book does not only consist of the serious social issues of the day. We also find the day to day delights of childhood: tea parties, sleepovers, birthdays, library visits, play houses, shopping trips for new clothes and ice cream woven throughout the tale. These everyday childhood events provide the backdrop and setting for the struggles of the era to play out against.

After reading this series debut I would say that Davis has accomplished what she has set out to achieve. My 5 year old daughter remains enchanted with the character of Sydney Clair, and often takes this book along with her on long car trips. Thankfully there are more Sydney Clair titles on the way. Each Girl 'n Grace will have a series of books bearing her name, along with an 18” doll wearing her signature outfit. My daughter cannot read yet, but the clear, bright book design and illustrations have captivated her. She remembers Sydney Clair and her story as she turns the pages.

For more information on the Girls 'n Grace Collection, visit the official website at GirlsnGrace.com. There you can learn more about the series, order the dolls, play interactive games, answer fun quizzes, and more.

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