Posted by Book Mavens on 31st May 2012
Author: R.J. Palacio
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Review/Summary: Auggie was born with a facial deformity, so he was homeschooled through years of surgeries and recoveries. Now, he is starting fifth grade and if you thought middle school was hard, then this is a testament to true friendship, understanding and kindness. This uplifting story made me laugh out loud, cry and wonder at his strength and resiliency. He is plucky and funny, vulnerable and charming. His family are so natural, real and supportive. This first novel by author Palacio addresses the insecurities of school-aged children and should be a must read for children grades five and up, as well as their parents, as it encourages discussion about love, support, and judging people on their appearance. And yes,” everyone deserves a standing ovation, at least once in their lives.”
Who will like this book?: Those who don’t shy away from reading about difficult, real-life, touching scenarios. Anyone who has ever felt judged, misunderstood, or who just wants to read about someone who is “different”.
If you like this, try this: If you liked Palacio’s writing style, be on the lookout for more from him- since this debut novel has created a huge amount of buzz, we hope he’ll be back with more soon.
If you’re interested in the subject matter of bullying, try “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier (also a teen book) or “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult- one for slightly older teens, as it’s more graphic. For littler ones looking for an introduction on the subject, “Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes is a good place to start.
For those who are interested in reading about other people with “differences”, this sensitive matter can be introduced with books such as “Rules” (Autism) by Cynthia Lord or “Out of my Mind” by Sharon Draper (Cerebral Palsy). However, the subject of severe facial deformities in young adult/older children’s books is relatively rare, so this book may have opened the door for more fiction pertaining to the subject.
Recommended by: Cindy B. Children’s Librarian
If this looks like a book you or your young adult/child would like to try out, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and place a hold!
Tags: 2012 Releases, Acceptance, Bullying, Coming of Age, Deformities, Disabilities
Posted in Childrens, Fiction, Teen Books for Adults | No Comments »
Posted by Book Mavens on 18th December 2011
Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick 2011
Summary: 13-year old Conor’s life is spinning out of control. His mother is dying of cancer, his dad has run away to America to live with his new family, he’s the target of bullies at school, his work-centric over-bearing grandmother has come to stay with the family, and now- a monster has shown up at 12:07 outside his bedroom window. The monster, disturbingly drawn in sharp strokes of black and white, will tell Conor three stories: and then? Conor must share his own story, the nightmare that has woken him from sleep and haunted his waking life. As the monster, a Yew tree in its current form, tells his three stories, Conor must gather the strength to tell his own story, one he’s never shared with anyone.
A Monster Calls is a book that can be read in one sitting, the story gripping and the pictures haunting. The Yew tree’s stories offer life lessons that most kids will learn eventually: that there isn’t always a good guy and a bad guy, that people can be both, and that sometimes sacrifices must be made for a greater good. Conor’s story itself, which the reader will experience glimpses of throughout the book, is not the one you would expect. The book deals with death well, offering stories of death in several different lights but also never downplaying how difficult both life and death can be. Apart from the Yew tree’s stories, additionally the topics of bullying, mental issues, and familial relationships is addressed. While older children will certainly be intrigued by the story, teens and adults will feel its impact more directly.
If you liked this, try this: Teens and adults will enjoy Siobhan Dowd’s stories such as “Bog Child”. The story was inspired by an idea by Dowd, who passed away before the work was completed. Middle grade children seeking information about death may try “The Naming of Tishkin Silk”, which deals with losing a younger sibling.
Recommended by: Lauren, Technical Services Assistant
Tags: 2011 Releases, Bullying, Cancer, Children's Books, Coming of Age, Nightmares, Teen Books
Posted in Fiction, Popular, Teen Books for Adults | No Comments »