Jessi's Secret Language: The Baby-Sitters Club #16 by Ann M Martin
3 out of 5 stars
Poor Jessi...apparently the book artists didn't know how to draw "darkish cocoa" people because this cover is not flattering at all. And her first book too! Anyway, Jessi gets assigned a special baby-sitting gig for some new kids in the neighborhood, Matt & Haley Braddock. Matt is completely deaf and uses American Sign Language. My sister taught me the alphabet and the colors over the summer; we like to practice them in the swimming pool lol.
So Jessi is apparently super awesome at learning different languages. Once, my family and I went to Mexico on vacation, and during the week we were there, I practically became bilingual. Okay. She picks up Ameslan pretty quickly (like, stringing full paragraphs together) and decides to start teaching some of the other neighborhood kids the "secret language" too, in the hopes that it will help Matt and especially Haley get some new friends. Of course, the Pike kids are all for it and start making their own language too. Those Pike kids are awesome, they'll just pick up any stray kids that come along lol.
In between teaching children new languages and helping them make friends, Jessi is also dancing the lead in a ballet called Coppelia. Since she's the newest and youngest (and only black) girl in her school, of course she gets some snarky comments and dirty looks from the other girls in her class. But she proves she can handle it all by dancing her skinny little butt off. She also decides to invite Matt & his class at school to the ballet, because most of them have never seen a ballet or even heard/felt music. I can't even begin to imagine that. This whole book is sickeningly nice and helpful, but it works! :)
And I'm happy to bring you another "What Claudia Should Have Worn" to Jessi's ballet, which the entire BSC was invited to: Claudia was channeling her inner-ballerina, in a short, high-waisted, flouncy blue & purple skirt with black tulle underneath and a wide black-and-white striped band on the waist. She had paired it with a blue silk tank-top and purple batik print tights that she had dyed herself. Around her neck she had a purple, animal-print scarf and a big chain necklace she had made...going with the animal-print theme, she had black & purple, zebra-print ballet flats. Her jewelry consisted of black shiny earrings, tons of black & jewel-toned bangles and huge shiny rings over long, black, fish-net, fingerless gloves. Her hair was loose and super straight, with a feathery headband that surely annoyed anyone sitting behind her. To top it all off, she was carrying a bright pink clutch purse with a large bow and purple jewels on the front.