Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

OMG.  I loved this little book.  I was so inspired not only by Auggie, but also by all of the supporting characters.

So Auggie Pullman has a deformed face.  It's so bad, he tells you in the very first chapter, that whatever you're possibly imagining....his face is worse.  Yet, he decides to try to go to school.  He's been home-schooled until now, but his mom can't keep up with his studies.  He needs to go to school.  But let's all be realistic, school's hard enough even for kids who have it all together - this is going to be a nightmare for Auggie.

So the story begins.  Auggie will impress you at every turn.  I found so many little nuggets of wisdom and kindness.  I really felt moved by the book.  So maybe the ending was a little too sweet, but who cares....I want to live in a world where people accept Auggie for who he is.

Kids need to read this book.  Kids who are in middle school, high school, college, and even us adults who are students of the world.  You need to meet Auggie because he helps you get some perspective on your life and what you're facing.  A great walk in many characters' shoes.

Read it!  Now!

A snippet - Page 59 to Page 60
I'm not sure why, but all of a sudden I started to cry.

Mom put the book down and wrapped her arms around me.  She didn't seem surprised that I was crying.  "It's okay," she whispered in my ear.  "I'll be okay."

"I'm sorry," I said between sniffles.

"Shh," she said, wiping my years with the back of her hand.  "You have nothing to be sorry about...."

"Why do I have to be so ugly, Mommy?" I whispered.

"No, baby, you're not..."

"I know I am."

She kissed me all over my face.  She kissed my eyes that came down too far.  She kissed my cheeks that looked punched in.  She kissed my tortoise mouth.

She said soft words that I know were meant to help me, but words can't change my face.
Hello!  Doesn't this just break your heart.... Yet this kid makes it.  He faces mean kids and comments and stares.  And he still tries and gets up every day and does his best and sends out positive energy for others.

And here's a bit from Auggie himself - page 65 - Auggie's paper about one of his class assignments:

"This precept means that we should be remembered for the things we do.  The things we do are the most important things of all.  They are more important than what we say or what we look like.  the things we do outlast our mortality.  The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they've died.  T hey're like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs.  Only instead of being made out of stone, they're made out of the memories people have of your.  That's why your deeds are like your monuments.   Built with memories instead of with stone."

My Really Late Summer Reading List

So, I moved from one city to another this summer.  Started a new job.  It's been busy. are the cool books I read this summer that I thought y'all might like.

Just a quick word about each one.

Maniac Magee - Can't believe I never read this one, but it was such a gem. A classic story with memorable characters.  One of those that you just have to read no matter when it happens.

Divergent - Beatrice lives in a future Chicago in which society is divided into factions.  She's in Abnegation but must decide when she's sixteen what faction she will align herself with.  Her choice could have serious consequences not only for her but also for all the people she loves and knows.  This was the first book/series that I thought came close to The Hunger Games.  I really loved this book.  Couldn't put it down.  Loved the characters and just the questions it brought up about people/their personalities.

Insurgent - Sequel to Divergent.  A must read if you like the first one.  I am, of course, just sad I've got to wait until the final book comes out.

The Name of the Star - I love, love, love anything by Maureen Johnson.  She's a smart, cooky, cool writer.  This book is different from her others.  It follows Rory, who's going to boarding school in London.  She's from Louisiana, so it's a huge culture shift.  But, she's game.  She meets people at school.  What's interesting here, though, is that London has a lot of history....not all of it great.  Someone has been recreating the Jack the Ripper murders from the past.  This book is boarding school fun meets London ghost hunting.  Super, fantastic fun!!!

Where Things Come Back - An award winning book and definitely worthy.  I loved this book because it is written from two totally different points of view.  The two narrators aren't even a part of each other's story...until they are.  I remember is this all going to connect, and when it did....I was floored.  It was a really good, gritty book.  Check it out.

Out of My Mind - An easy read, but a really moving book.  This book is from the point of view of a girl with cerebral palsy.  She can't move or talk, but there's so much happening inside her mind.  You get a front row seat at she works through all these challenges at school.  A good read to remind you to walk in another person's shoes so that you can understand new perspectives about the world and how you treat and view people.

Anya's Ghost - I've been  trying to read more graphic novels.  This one was great!  I really, really loved it.  Anya is having issues with friends and school and just everything like every other kid in the world.  Her family's Russian and she deals with that, too.  Anyway, she ends up falling into a well and there is a skeleton down there!!!  She ends up talking to the ghost who belongs to the bones.  At first it's actually kind of cool, but then it begins getting weird....A fun high school, annoying ghost, be who you are story.