Genius Jolene

  • Illustrated By: Charlene Chua
  • Pages:112
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:road trip with Dad, LGBTQ parent, discrimination, helping others, encouraging inquiry in children
  • Pub Date:04/07/2020
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 6-8
  • Lexile:650L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:T
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On her annual trip in her father’s 18-wheeler, Jolene is ready for some new adventures.

Eight-year-old Jolene is headed to Los Angeles on a six-day road trip to deliver some newsprint with her dad. Just like last year, they tell each other stories and listen to music. They also keep up their favorite tradition: critiquing one type of food at every stop. This time it’s onion rings.

But this year is also different. Unlike last year, Jolene’s parents are no longer together. They split up when her father came out as gay. These are big changes for Jolene, but she is spunky and smart and has a good heart. She’s ready to stand up for what’s right—both on and off the road.

“Father-daughter bonding story in a remarkable setting.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“Jolene’s enjoyable and insightful journey makes the complex themes of family, acceptance, and forgiveness accessible to young readers through easy-to-read text and spirited illustrations.”
– CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“[An] approachable, representative, middle grade chapter book focusing on father-daughter relationships.”
– School Library Journal
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection   | 2020  |  Commended
BC and Yukon Book Prizes, Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize   | 2021  |  Winner
Forest of Reading Silver Birch Express Awards   | 2021  |  Short-listed
Chocolate Lily Awards   | 2022  |  Short-listed
ALA Rainbow Book List   | 2021  |  Commended