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Nikki and Deja (Nikki and Deja #1)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  182 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Meet Nikki and Deja, who live next door to each other and are best friends. They do everything together—watch Saturday morning cartoons, play jacks, jump double Dutch at recess, and help each other with their homework for Mrs. Shelby's third-grade class. But when an arrogant new girl arrives and Nikki and Deja form a club that would exclude her, the results are not what th ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published January 12th 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published December 17th 2007)
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Mar 05, 2008 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is the sad but true fact about the state of children's publishing today. You would think that for all our talk about diversity and equal opportunity that the number of books for children with African-American characters would make up a significant part of the marketplace. Not as such. Oh, you can certainly find picture books with African Americans, if you squint really hard and look in the right places. But here's a fun game to play: Walk into your local bookstore and library and try to fin ...more
I literally read this in about 45min - 1 hour. It was cute and short. I mainly read it because I was looking for children's chapter books that contained a main character that was black. The story was cute and something that would happen to many little girls; however, I wanted more of a resolution int the end. I might pick up the rest of the books from the library in the future.
Claire Scott
Nikki and Deja gets an extra star from me because it's like a breath of fresh air to read an early chapter book with regular African-American girl characters in everyday situations: trying to do each others' hair, having friendship drama, and hoping the loud kids in line don't get the whole class in trouble. Like many early chapter books, it's a story of friendship between two girls, with chapters of discrete small moments scaffolded within an ongoing storyline. There's drama -- they're BFFs but ...more
The Library Lady
A few story touches and the illustrations show that this appens to be about 2 African American girls. But Nikki and Deja's friendship with its ups and downs is the same sort of experience little girls of all backgrounds go through is timeless. The lack of slang, gadgets, or brand name dropping will keep this from dating. The fact that it is short and simply written will make it useful for younger readers just tackling novels. In short while it's not a book that will set the pond on fire, it's a ...more
Nancy Kotkin
The first installment of a chapter book series featuring African American characters. Even with the diversity movement in children's books, chapter books (always a second cousin) have been primarily left out. The dearth of chapter books for PoC, coupled with the fact that this is authentically rendered realistic fiction, make this chapter book series an important contribution to the canon of children's literature.

The writing is solid. Both the neighborhood and the school feel genuine. Written by
RLL22016 Phoebe
Oct 23, 2016 RLL22016 Phoebe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nikki and Deja is about two girls who are the best of friends, they do just about everything together. However these friends runs into trouble. I really enjoyed how the story was told, all the characters were very relate-able. I would recommend this book to grades 2nd-up. I would use the book to teach my students the lesson of friendship as well as to making sure they're not making bad decisions when you're upset.

As an adult I find friendship woes kind of tedious, but I remember being in elementary school and those challenges were really important. Nikki and Deja is another one of these friendship books that I think does a great job of modeling what good friends do. I really appreciate that this book (and others about friendship) show that friends can fight. This isn’t a Pollyanna of a book. Friendship, and really any relationship, takes work and will have it’s share of bumps along the way.

I also appreci
Mary Ann
Nikki and Deja are third graders, best friends living next door to each other. Deja can’t stop thinking about her birthday party, and she’s been talking about it for days. Nikki tries to be patient and helpful, but it’s hard sometimes! Now all sorts of things are threatening to ruin Deja’s big day: Her mom has to go on a last-minute business trip; another popular girl at school is going to throw a “just because” party on the same day as Deja’s party. What are the two friends going to do? Will D ...more
I thought that this story about two friends was extremely cute and completely appealing to young students. I think that teaching students about social interaction, friendships, and emotions are just as important as teaching academic material. I think that this story is also great for students that are beginning to read chapter books. This book is great for students who may be dealing with similar conflicts with friends. I also think that this story is great because it relates to things particula ...more
Danie P.
Apr 19, 2010 Danie P. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Nikki and Deja are third graders who also happen to be best friends. When a new girl moves in and acts snotty toward them they decide to form a club just so they can keep her out. This don't work out exactly as they plan. This is a great series for black/african american girls (or boys) that doesn't focus the story around the color of their skin but rather on their friendship and relationships around them. Great for little girls who want to read for fun and looking for characters to identify wit ...more
Nov 05, 2014 Amani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved the book because the book was about two little girls living next door from each other and nikki loved to do deja hair because nikki just didn"nt have much hair as deja i guess she loved palying in her hair but in the part of the story deja got tired of nikki playing in here hair and she told her to stop i"m currently reading nikki and deja Election madness but i really like the person who made these books cause they really make very good boooks follow name is karen english and is ...more
Jan 30, 2008 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this...or dislike it. It's the portrayal of a friendship between two 3rd grade girls. While most girls have experienced the ups and downs in a friendship that these girls experience, thus cementing its wide appeal, the book didn't really offer a fresh perspective.

What I did appreciate was the portrayal of African-American girls without changing their vernacular or blatantly pointing it out in the text. This could be very popular in most of our branches, and I'll certainly buy a lot
Parry Rigney
Who doesn't wish they had a best friend who lived next door? (Although I had it pretty close, myself.) Nikki and Deja are the best of friends and next door neighbors - Nikki is organized, and loves to make lists and record her observations about the world; Deja is creative, likes the color lavender, and loves to decorate. Hand this to young girls looking for early chapter books - it's a sweet school story about friendship, jealousy, and forgiveness.
Jen Ammenti
This story had so much potential to effectively address the exclusivity of best friends and clubs popular among young girls. However, the author completely drops the ball, allowing the girls to be mean with each other and never resolving the problems that arise. Could be a great book for discussions with teacher guidance, yet I hesitate to recommend it to young readers who don't yet possess the comprehension skills to question the books resolve and the characters relationships.
Liz Phipps-Soeiro
I liked this book, and know many 2-4th grade girls who will as well. 3 stars instead of 4 because resolution lacked with the outlier character. If Nikki & Deja had confronted her and resolved the issues instead of her getting in "trouble" at school I would have rated this book higher. With that said, it's nice to read a series about 2 African American girls! A breath of fresh air from the mainly white protagonists that are often published!
Dec 22, 2012 Dani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book! Although the chapter about how the children behaved for the substitute teacher is a bit unbelievable (I haven't subbed for a class yet that would allow me to get away with having the "wrong" child pass out papers without letting me hear about it), it deals with every-day, little girl drama. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Ivy & Bean, but this one is definitely more realistic.
Jenni Heimach
I like this book because the characters display a strong friendship with commonl "girl-playground" issues. I also like it because the characters are of color and I find it difficult to find books on this reading level with characters of color. Kudos to author Karen English for giving this to my students of color! Even though the story line lacks a lot of depth, I would recommend this book to my students.
Slim volume which narrates the ups and downs of the friendship between two third graders. While I think the book would spark interesting conversations in a book club / lit circle setting, readers might find the characters lack some depth and issues get resolved too easily. Nevertheless, a good addition for any library seeking to further diversify their collection.
This is a great selection for kids who aren't ready for Dear Dumb Diary, Allie Finkle, or Dork Diaries but who really want "girl drama" based stories. It's around the same reading level as the Clementine books (or maybe slightly below).
Eva Mitnick
Aug 26, 2009 Eva Mitnick rated it liked it
Shelves: children
The trials, tribulations, and fun of two 2nd-grade friends - this is a great book to hand to kids just moving out of easy readers and into chapter books. Sweet, funny, and heart-felt, with plenty of illustrations.
First in a terrific series about a pair of delightful and feisty 3rd graders. Incorporates realistic touches of African American life, (jumping double Dutch, hair braiding) without becoming a "message" book.
this is a very cute series. the characters are regular kids and they do stupid things and mean things and kind things and other things like NORMAL KIDS.

I love books that help normalize diverse groups. This book is not for black kids. This book is for kids.
Nikki and Deja are best friends working through the trials of 3rd grade 1 day at a time. This book would be great for 2nd and 3rd graders as I feel they could easily relate Nikki and Deja.
Sep 01, 2010 Uflchildrens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-chapter
Great series for girls just starting to tackle beginning chapter books about two best friends. You can read this series in any order.--Rachel
J/first chapter/English
Super series that I'm so glad I found. Very realistic characters. True to life story that my third graders will enjoy and relate to.
LandOLakes Library
A good book about friendship and the strains it undergoes when a new girl moves into the neighborhood.
May 08, 2014 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
#weneeddiversebooks like this one, where the main characters just hang out and do kid things, and they just happen to be persons of color. Yes plz.
Deborah Harris
Dec 15, 2013 Deborah Harris added it
Shelves: ar-3, a16
AR Quiz No. 119001 EN Fiction
Accelerated Reader Quiz Information IL: LG - BL: 3.9 - AR Pts: 1.0
Accelerated Reader Quiz Type Information AR Quiz Types: RP
Nov 28, 2015 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prk-5-books
This is a great little chapter book series for 2nd-3rd graders! In this book, Nikki and Deja learn that it's important to be honest and to be a good friend. - Stephanie E. Burns
Aug 05, 2015 Micalah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Karen English is a Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winning author and an elementary school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
More about Karen English...

Other Books in the Series

Nikki and Deja (6 books)
  • Nikki and Deja: Birthday Blues
  • Nikki and Deja: The Newsy News Newsletter
  • Nikki and Deja: Election Madness
  • Nikki and Deja: Wedding Drama
  • Nikki and Deja: Substitute Trouble (Nikki & Deja)

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