Ashley Eckstein isn’t just a voice actress, geek fashion entrepreneur, and model ambassador for female fandom; she’s also a published author. The Little Golden Book Star Wars: I Am a Padawan was Ashley’s first foray into children’s literature and who better to write a book told from Ahsoka Tano’s perspective than the woman who spent over a decade in the role? In her interview with StarWars.Com, she talked about her writing process, how she rewatched the series for research purposes, and the lessons she hoped to impart to her young readers.
Those familiar with The Clone Wars will note that the book highlights some of Ahsoka’s adventures (and misadventures) during her time as Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice: her first major setback as a team leader, her quest to find her stolen lightsaber, her time training the Onderon rebels, the time she helped Jedi younglings build their own lightsabers, and her fateful departure from the Jedi Order. There’s even a nod to Ahsoka’s discovery by Plo Koon, a scene that was briefly shown in the opening montage of the season five episode “The Gathering” and originally conceived by Dave Filoni as a fable about not judging people based on appearances.
But no prior knowledge of the series or its characters is needed. In fact, I Am a Padawan serves as an excellent introduction to Star Wars, Ahsoka Tano, and the Clone Wars era, especially for those who may be too young to watch the animated series or films. Ashley Eckstein expertly captures Ahsoka’s voice in this book – which is hardly surprising given her many years’ experience bringing the character to life – and she has done an exemplary job of covering every major milestone in Ahsoka’s young life. She reminds her young readers that every Padawan’s (and person’s) journey is different, that challenges and mistakes are a natural part of life, and that hope can help get us through our darkest times. I can’t think of any better advice to pass on to our younglings in these trying pandemic times.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Shane Clester’s cute and colourful retro-style illustrations, which will appeal to readers of all ages. Who can resist a playful tooka or a heart-warming depiction of toddler Ahsoka meeting Master Plo? I’m sure canon junkies will be tempted to point out the little inconsistences here and there – like Ahsoka wearing her later season outfit in some scenes from the show’s earlier seasons – but this is hardly a deal-breaker and something the book’s target audience is unlikely to notice or care about. Clester explains his creative process and stylistic decisions in his interview with StarWars.Com.
In short, I Am a Padawan is a perfect gift for the younglings in your life and its vibrant artwork makes it a fine addition to any Ahsoka Tano fan’s collection. And if you’re looking for more Star Wars content that’s aimed at the pre-schooler/kindergarten age bracket, be sure to check out the animated micro-series Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, which can be found in its entirety on Disney+ and YouTube.
Written by: Ashley Eckstein.
Illustrated by: Shane Clester.
Publisher: Golden Books (2020).
Reading level: 2-5 years.
Price: $4.99 (US), $5.99 (CAN), £4.12 (UK).
Looking for even more Ahsoka Tano fan art, cosplay photos, opinion pieces, memes, and merchandise tips? Then come find me over on Twitter: @AllThingsAhsoka!
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