Review: Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee

Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee by Tonya Duncan Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Illustrated by Patrick Noze

Published by Inspire Books on January 15, 2018

Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction

ISBN- 978-1950685752

Reading Age: 8 – 12 years

Pages: 71


“Sounds to me like that young man has a bit of a crush on you, Sophie,” she muses. “Otherwise, why would he spend so much time worrying about what you’re doing?”

“Sophie and Nathan, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g,” teases Cole. I pop him on the behind with a kitchen towel while Granny searches through the pantry for dinner fixings.

- Ellis, Tonya Duncan. Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee (p. 32). Kindle Edition. 

Sign up for the spelling bee? No way! If there’s one thing 10-year-old Texan Sophie Washington is good at, it’s spelling. She’s earned straight 100s on all her spelling tests to prove it. Her parents want her to compete in the Xavier Academy spelling bee, but Sophie wishes they would buzz off. That’s until her irritating classmate, Nathan Jones, challenges her. There’s no way she can let Mr. Know-It-All win. Studying is hard when you have a pesky younger brother and a busy social calendar. Can Sophie ignore the distractions and become Queen of the Bee?

Tonya Duncan Ellis is author of the bestselling, award-winning Sophie Washington children’s book series, geared toward readers ages 8-12 and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Authors Guild, Black Creators in KidLit and the Brown Bookshelf’s Highlights Foundation Sponsored Amplify Black Stories storyteller cohort.

Visit the Tonya Duncan Ellis official website to download FREE book discussion questions and coloring pages and to join Sophie's Club newsletter group, which gives information about new releases and giveaways!

Like her on Facebook: @tonyaellisbooks
Follow her on Twitter: @TonyaDEllis
Follow her on Instagram: @tonyaellisbooks


Author, Tonya Duncan Ellis has hit a slam-dunk with this first book in the Sophie Washington series. It is relatable, with diverse characters. I grew up reading Enid Blyton books which are delightful and well-written, however, there was no cultural representation for me, which I was too innocent at the time to realize as an issue.

With this series, Tonya brings to life a main character with which I can identify. She’s feisty, has a mind of her own, and doesn’t take any crap from her little brother. She’s a good student and a great speller, she’s just not sure about all this contest business. I enjoyed the family dynamics:

  • Parents married and still in love
  • Grandparents alive and active in their lives
  • Kids being themselves and either fighting or getting along
  • Dinner together
  • Parents encouraging Sophie to go to the next level despite her trepidation
  • What I loved the most was Sophie's compassion. I almost threw in a spoiler, but you will have to read the series yourself to find out about her compassionate act.

    After reading book one, I have to read all the others before I get to The Lemonade Stand which is the most recent book. (Not that this is necessary, it's just a quirk of mine)

    The best news is that as of this date, Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee is currently free on kindle.

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