First Day of School

So the time has come again.

As Billy Madison put it, “Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school. Well, here goes nothing.”

I am so stinking nervous about tomorrow. Actually, me and my best friend are almost to tears because of nerves. I’m a new middle school Reading teacher and she’s going to be teaching just 5th grade Science this year instead of being self-contained. I just need the first week to be over. I hate adjusting to new situations. I am so excited about teaching middle school but my lack of experience terrifies me. I have only taught 2nd and 4th grade. I just need to get my new routine underway.

I have been working more than an ant in it’s hill. I have been to work everyday for the past 9 days. And I have been waking up at the crack of dawn every morning. I’ve been making copies, making lesson plans, decorating my classroom, getting everything organized, shopping for supplies, making PowerPoints and seating charts, going to trainings and orientations, and making anchor charts. And mentally preparing myself for the first day. I truly believe that I am as nervous as my 7th graders. We’ll all be in the same boat! I just have to fake it ’til I make it, right?

Here are some of the cute anchor charts I made for my class. I can’t draw and I have horrible handwriting so I traced one or two of them from my department head. Whatever works right?

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We’re starting with Inferencing before we read Wonder by R. J. Palacio, can you tell?

On a more relaxed note, I have met some awesome people at my new school. I’ve met a few of my new students and most of the staff. They’ve all been super welcoming and helpful. I’ve even become pretty good friends with my two new teammates, with whom I’ll be planning with this year. One girl is actually a newlywed like, myself. Her and her husband just moved here from Montana so I don’t feel like the only newbie to the area.

Thankfully, last night I had some time to send with my friends. Camille came over to spend the night with me, Tab, and Ricardo. Ricardo and I cooked dinner and it was a good time. It was some nice down time. We don’t have a couch in our living room yet so we drug Tab’s and our mattress into the living room to watch some Netflix after we ate dinner.

Here’s what our Saturday night in looked like:

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We like a little taters and broccoli with our cheese obviously.

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Tab is on the far left (she’s the one teaching 5th grade Science), Camille in the middle is in her last year of law school and already has a job for when she finishes, and that’s me front row joe. I was looking pretty rough from working all day so I didn’t want to break the camera! 😛

It’s rare that we all have time to get together. Especially during the school year. I’m always thankful for nights we can all make time in our busy schedules.

Only 9 more hours until I have to wake up and get ready for school! Eeeeek!

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Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis

Cage of Deceit

“She was a princess, elegant, refined, and all that the position implied. At least, that was she kept telling herself. Because, truth be told, she hated being stuck in this cage, playing this game.”
Jennifer Anne Davis, Cage of Deceit

NetGalley Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion—she’s beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona—that of a vigilante—to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.
Unfortunately, her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their country and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.

Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life.

Review

Holy Yowza. This book is amazing. I don’t think I have anything negative to say about it. I love love love all of the characters in this book. Even the evil ones, I love to hate them. This book made me laugh, cry, slam my fist in anger, gasp in shock, etc… all of the emotions! I am so excited that this book is going to be the start to a series. When does the next one come out!? The anticipation is going to kill me. The series is going to be called the Reign of Secrets series.

Cage of Deceit reminded me of The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke mixed with The Young Elite by Marie Lu. It’s not as dark as The Young Elite though.

I enjoyed how Allyssa had flaws. She’s kind of bitchy sometimes and jumps to conclusions about people, but I feel like that made her more relatable. I hate how books usually have perfect heroines. I can’t relate to that? And neither can teenagers. She also has this mentality of “I can take care of myself. I don’t need a man!” and I admired that. I think the whole damsel in distress thing is hard for some authors to skip. Most of them still do that for romance sake. They want the girl to be rescued by Prince Charming and to realize “OH MY GOSH I LOVE THIS SEXY MAN WHO SAVED ME!” Um… no. Is that really what we should be teaching our daughters? I don’t think so.

Another thing I think that is unique about this book is that the queen had a more powerful standing than the king. Apparently, she had inherited the crown and most of the decision making fell on her shoulders.The king didn’t seem weak by any means. On the contrary, he always had something to say about Allyssa and pushed her limits every chance he got. But the queen was loving, regal, and a tough ruler all at once. I really admired that.

It doesn’t say it until the ending of this book but I knew Javrik’s secret the entire time! I did a little victory dance at the end of it when his secret was revealed and I am soooo happy it turned out that way. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers in this review because the book doesn’t actually come out for another few days. I requested it on NetGalley and read it on iBooks.

And I know this is really small, but I’m almost 100% sure the author is British because of the wording and phrases in this book. It made me love it even more! I loved all the “Blimeys” and “Sod off” mini curses. I felt like I was truly reading a book from a different realm/culture. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading series, likes adventure, and likes books that takes them on an emotional roller coaster. I got this book 3 days ago and have been working full time and I managed to finish it because I read it every chance I got.

I giveth this book 6/5 stars.

Daniela :)

Hey guys! This is my friend Daniela. We attended the same high school and were both members of The Book Thieves, our school book club. Danny has continued being an avid reader and even works at Barnes & Noble! *I’ve always been jealous. I would love to work in a bookish environment.* She, so kindly, agreed to fill out on of my bookish questionnaires.

Daniela

Where is your favorite reading nook?

I have a few places that I consider my favorite reading nook. The top two are my bed and on the benches under the staircase in my school where my view is the lake.

What are some of your all time favorite books?

Some of my all time favorite books are: The City of Bones series, (including Clockwork Angel) and the Sookie Stackhouse series. AKA True Blood.

What was your favorite childhood book and why?

I think my favorite childhood book was Among the Hidden by Haddix. I think this book is what started it all because it was the first series I read willingly. It wasn’t a mandatory assignment; it was for fun. Because of this book I fell in love with the books: The Giver, Uglies series, and the best one of all, Harry Potter.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Picking a Favorite author is very difficult because every Author has a unique way of writing and their books become a part of my life because of it. A few that I have to mention would be: Lois Lowery, Charlaine Harris, and J.K. Rowling.

Where is your favorite book setting?

My favorite book setting is probably in a futuristic city. I love Dystopias and the cities just seem amazing in my mind. The technology and architecture is different, especially when they call what we have now, rustic, or ruins.

What would you say is your favorite literature genre?

I would have to say that Fantasy is my favorite genre. It is the one that intrigues me the most with futuristic ideas over how the world could end up like.

If you could change the ending of one book, which book would it be and how would you change the ending?

Allegiant is on the list of “Books that shouldn’t have been written” list. I did not like the way the story progressed or the characters in the book. I would change the way Tris died. I think the way she died was pathetic because out of everything that could have killed her she gets shot and killed. That was definitely a slap in the face. I would have had her blow up the whole building or get so hurt and almost die and be paralyzed but lived to tell the tale. I could go on and on about this but I think you get the gist.

I agree so much with this statement. I thought I loved the Divergent series as I was reading them but then I read the last book. WHOMP. What a bust. I hated the ending too. It wasn’t epic enough. 

If you could choose one literary character that you identify most with, who would it be and why?

This is a very difficult question. I honestly do not know who I would be. I tend to wish I was like a character in a book that I was reading. I think that I have a little bit of me in different characters that I read.

Have you ever read a book that you hated? If yes, which one?

The Divergent series. Well, I really liked Divergent, but hated the last two and rate the whole series as a 4/10.

Scenario: It’s dress like a literary character day at your job! Who do you dress up as and why?

Luna Lovegood. I think her character is so much fun since she has such a quirky personality. You could have so much fun as Luna!

Luna seems to be a favorite of several of my friends. She would be fun! She’s so quirky! 

Professional Development on Grading and Fairness

Yay! I was approved for my first NetGalley request for a book. I just started reading Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis. It’s the first book in her series and so far kind of reminds me of The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke.

It’s about a girl named Allyssa who is from a higher rank in society. She is also a vigilante by night. But in the midst of all of this her country is facing an oncoming war. She finds herself having to sacrifice what she truly wants in order to marry a Prince from another kingdom to keep the peace. The prince has his squire follow Allyssa around, whom she is not too fond of. Together, her and his squire must try and save the kingdom.

Right when I walked through the door after training today, I went to my computer and downloaded this book. My brain feels melted after professional development. We learned a lot of great things today from our guest speaker Mr. Rick Wormeli. He discussed points from his new book, Fair isn’t Always Equal. It’s about grading in the 21st Century and how we should be doing it differently than we are. For example, we should be giving the kids positive/constructive feedback in order to get students  where they need to be versus giving them a letter grade and leaving them behind when they don’t understand the lesson. And that it’s detrimental to their confidence when you just give them an F and tell them that they are a failure. He was also very strongly against giving class averages. Which I can see from an independent point of a student or parent view but I think in order to look at your teaching strategies later on the different standards, and to see if they were effective, you need those to go off of. Even if it’s just for the instructor and not the students.

Oh my goodness, and he showed us a great video about connecting with the world in the 21st century and how the internet is actually DISconnecting us by forcing us to lose intimacy and conversational skills with other people. It’s called The Inner Net,  It’s really cool because it’s in street poetry. It’s also showing how a student can complete a project this way instead of the ol’ pen and paper method. Some kids need more of a creative outlet and some thrive better that way.

Unfortunately. I didn’t get to do much in my classroom today. I will get about 3 hours to do so tomorrow though. I need to finish cleaning out my desk and labeling bins and what not. One day I need to go buy some fabric and posters for my room but that’s probably going to have to wait until I have a paycheck. We’re still paying off some of our wedding and honeymoon shenanigans.

On another exciting note, I have a friend completing a bookish questionnaire for me later today and I will be posting it later 🙂

And so it Begins…

I started professional development trainings this week. My mom wasn’t kidding when I was growing up about how boring they are. Sure, some of them are interesting, when you’re actually learning something new and not listening to the same thing being repeated over and over.

I just want to get to work! I want to start planning with my team. I want to be in a routine already. I want to not feel like I’m about to rip my hair out by the roots! I went and worked in my classroom a little bit today and I felt a little bit better after that.

My principal and assistant principal sawed off an end to a bookshelf from the library and made me a double-sided shelf. It’s humongous and I love it. I don’t even have enough books to fill one side yet but I’m getting there! It was so gratifying just to get it together and to get my books on display. It made my room feel much homier. I’m surrounded by books at home and they’re make any ol’ place my happy place. It was so satisfying to arrange them how I wanted too. I have all the series put together and it’s beautiful. I’ll have to post a picture tomorrow.

Anyway, embarrassing moment of the day was when I started my FIRST EVER STAFF DEVELOPMENT for my FIRST REAL TEACHING JOB any my mom (who happens to be the librarian at my school) took over my role in our team building exercise and basically made me look like a child. I know! “She’s your mother” but maybe this is one of those things that people warn you about working with someone close to you. She didn’t even realize it at first. I just looked at her all mortified like. Hopefully, none of our other team members noticed… Hopefully. She called and apologized later… while stifling some giggles. The thing about me and my mom is that she had me pretty young, which basically means we treat each others as siblings half the time. If you have a young parent or you had your child young you probably know what I mean. She always explains it as, “Well we grew up together.” Which is so accurate and hilarious at the same time.

But that was my first day at staff development. I told her she couldn’t be on my team tomorrow! Tomorrow is 7:30am to 4pm. Bring on the coffee drip.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann – Review

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Blurb

Alex and his twin are separated for the first time. One is Unwanted and one is Wanted. You really don’t want to be an Unwanted because then the High Priest disposes of you for being a creative thinker. But does being disposed of mean the same thing Alex thinks it means? Or is it a blessing in disguise when he arrives to Artime where he can hone his creative ability and get away from the brainwashing city of Quill and the wicked High Priest Justine? Or does that mean he has to say goodbye to his twin Aaron for good?

Review

I was captivated by the cover of this book. I had no idea it was already a series. I just remember walking by the children’s lit section in Barnes & Noble and looking over at the super cool looking, flying cheetah on the cover. It reminded me of the Percy Jackson covers. Kind of like a cheetah-Pegasus.

I tried really hard to like this book. It wasn’t bad, per say. But it was no where near the caliber of Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, or Charlie Bone. The chapters went too quickly. There was no depth in this book. This might be good for struggling reader, or readers who just want the book to get to the point but it just felt like it was lacking to me.

I gave The Unwanteds 3/5 stars because I love the idea of the book and I love fantasy in it, with the stone animals and the dystopian feel to it. I just wish the writing would have been stronger.

The relationships in this book were also confusing to me. I totally get the whole brain –washing aspect, and how the families can easily turn on each other in order to survive. What I didn’t get was Alex’s relationship with basically everyone in this novel. Did his twin Aaron actually miss him? What was the deal with him and Lani? I so didn’t pick up on that little romance until he kissed her cheek. It caught me off guard. And not in an “Awwww! That’s so sweet!” kind of way. More of a, “What!? What just happened?!” way.

And Meaghan’s brother… he was way too cryptic to be helpful. He was slightly threatening and over-bearing. I didn’t like it. And where did he go? He’s barely in the book but he was the one who introduced everything to the new Unwanteds.

My favorite character in this book was Samheed. Partly because his name reminds me of Samwise, like Samwise Gamgee. Also because he’s real. Yeah, he’s got a temper but at least you don’t have to worry about what he’s thinking! He tells you! And he turns out to be a true friend to Alex in the end.

I’m taking this book to school with me to put in my classroom but I don’t think I will be reading the other installments to this series.

The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)

Teacher Resources for Reading

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I joined NetGalley today!

I thought, not only as a teacher, but also as a book blogger that this would be a good thing to join. I hear you can request ARC’s on here and review them? I’m super excited about that! Does anyone else have much experience with NetGalley?

https://www.netgalley.com/

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I’ve also been hooked on Common Sense Media since my mom told me about it! She’s going to be the librarian at the school I’ll be working at this year and she’s been teaching for almost 20 years. She’s full of good resources! Common Sense Media allows you as a parent or an educator to check out book ratings. You can see how appropriate they are, what reading level they are on, and there’s usually reviews about the books. This has helped me pick out so many books for my classroom library!

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

Bandwagons I Have Yet to Jump On

I prefer series more than stand alone books. I think I get so attached to characters and worlds that it’s hard for me to say good-bye.

I become so invested in what I’m reading that I never abandon a series. I always have to see it through to the end.

But there are SO MANY bandwagons to jump on these days. I don’t even just get invested in YA fan clubs! I also like middle grade and adult as well! Some of my favorites are the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu, all of Cassandra Clare’s series that are out such as The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, Harry Potter of course, Percy Jackson and all other Rick Riordan books, LOTR and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, A Song of Fire and Ice By George R. R. Martin, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The Selection series by Kiera Cass, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, etc.

BUT – there are A LOT I have yet gotten into. Not because I don’t want to but I usually like to finish what I start and that takes time and so does just finding time to read. It’s hard once the school year starts. And there’s always more books to purchase.

Here are the bandwagons I need to hop on eventually, that have caught my interest:

  1. The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  2. The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo
  3. The Testing series by Joelle Charbonneau
  4. All of Rainbow Rowell’s books
  5. Daughter of Smoke & Bone series by Laini Taylor
  6. Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
  7. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  8. The Starbound series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  9. The Cousin’s War series by Philippa Gregory
  10. The Tudor Court series by Philippa Gregory
  11. The Rebel Belle books by Rachel Hawkins

There’s probably so many more but those are the ones I can think of that I saw around at Barnes& Noble this afternoon. I wanted to by all the first books to these series! Maybe once I get my paycheck in September 🙂

Common Themes/Aspects in Middle Grade Fantasy – Book Recommendations

One of my very favorite classes I took in college was my children’s literature studies. Granted it was about environmentalism in children’s lit, but it was still really interesting. When we first started the class we went over common aspects and themes of children’s literature and middle grade novels.

The most common of these themes being:

  • Friendship
  • Self-discovery/growing-up
  • Courage/Overcoming obstacles as the underdog

I read a ton of middle grade and young adult novels. I think these themes are the meat and potatoes to young adult literature too. Along with young love and heartache, of course.

Among themes in middle grade/children’s lit are:

  • A group of trusty friends, usually 3 to a group
  • Magical powers or magic like talking animals
  • Good vs. Evil villians
  • Going to school

What got me thinking about all of this again was a new fantasy book I started reading called The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann.I started picking up on the common themes because as I was reading I was like “Wow! This is just like Harry Potter! And Charlie Bone! Etc…”

I thought I would make a condensed list of my favorite middle grade novels with these common themes and aspects. A “If you like these, you should read ______” list, if you will.

I’ll start with my current read, The Unwanteds. This book is about a group of kids who unfortunately cast out of their society due to their creativity. Is anyone thinking Divergent yet? After, they are cast out they are feeling like well…outcasts and like they are not worthy. Soon they find out they are destined for something, or a place, much more spectacular than Quill. This magical place of fine arts is Artime, where all the outcast kiddos learn to harness their creativity and are guided by half animal/people creatures to discover who they are. They must keep this place a secret so that the Quillitary does not find them out. All the while, Alex (main character) and his circle of friends (Lani, Meghan, and Samheed) are deciding if they want to stay there as they train and hone their new creative abilities and learn magic in case of a war with Quill. Alex, is almost desperate to go back to Quill to try and sneak in his twin brother, Aaron, a Wanted to Artime. He is also struggling with the fact that all of his friends have been accepted into the Magical Warrior Training and he hasn’t even though his teacher always praises his work and he completes it all on time.

Next up, my favorite, Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling.

I don’t think I even need to give a synopsis of this one. If you haven’t read Harry Potter and you claim to be a reader, then you need to climb out from under the rock from whence you came and hop on the bandwagon now. The Harry Potter fan club is always accepting new members! Est. 1997.

But of course in Harry Potter there’s, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, the triple threat. And from book number one, The Sorcerers Stone to The Deathly Hallows, the trio is growing into their own and falling in love and overcoming He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and the Death Eaters. Harry is also learning a lot about his mother and father and discovering if that has an effect on who he is. In the last book, Harry ultimately faces death for the good of everyone else around him. He is constantly rescuing other people and sacrificing himself. (Ginny, Cedric, Buckbeak, Sirius, etc.) He becomes the boy who lived under the stairs on Privot Drive, to The Boy Who Lived. But he wouldn’t have made it anywhere without his bestfriends Ron and Hermione.

Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

After reflecting on Harry Potter, I thought of Charlie Bone. I read some of the Harry Potter books and Charlie Bone simultaneously. Back then, I thought Charlie Bone was a rip off of Harry Potter but the more I read the books the more I appreciated it’s unique story. Like Harry, Charlie doesn’t really know where he comes from. He has an idea but it turns out there’s a lot he doesn’t know once he starts at Bloor’s Academy. He basically finds his immediate family’s history and his distant family’s history and learns why he has special abilities with drawings. Magical school like Hogwarts that also focuses on the arts, because hey! Magic and art go hand and hand right? There, Charlie makes some friends. He gains more friends as the books go on but the ones that stand out to me are Emma Tolly, Olivia Vertigo, Fidelio Gunn, Tancred, and Lysander. While this is all going on there are people out for Charlie and his family. Specifically, the Bloor’s are kind bad and Asa isn’t a sugar and spice character either. Charlie must live at the Bloor’s school to learn about his past in order to look towards his future.

Those are my two favorite of my children’s fantasy lit collection. But The Iron Trial: Magisterium novel by author’s Cassandra Clare and Holly Black would also fall into this category. I read this one around the same time I read The Balance Keepers by Lindsay Cummings so I sometimes get the character names mixed up.

In The Iron Trial, Callum and his father have been trying to suppress his powers his whole life because Call is destined to be a dangerous wizard one day. Even when he tries his hardest to suck, they still see the power within him. Once he comes of age he must go to The Iron Trials to see if he will be accepted into wizarding school. There he meets his friends Aaron and Tamara. They are the underdog team at the school and have to try harder to prove themselves worthy. At the Magisterium he learns who to be friends with and who to stay away from. And then everything turns for the worse and the unexpected happens. Can he stay friends with Aaron, who may actual be the wizard the Magisterium has been waiting for? And will Tamara decide to be her own person and not follow in her sisters footsteps?

The Balance Keepers: The Fires of Calderon

I was really excited when this one came out. I had just read Lindsay Cummings The Murder Complex, and loved it!

One day, Albert Flynn follows a map into the woods while he’s away for the summer visiting his dad. He goes down a windy tunnel underground and finds the Realms at the Core. There he learns that he is a Balance Keeper. Wizards who hold the peace above and below the world. For initiation, the newbies must dive into a lake to find their Tile. Their tile specifies what ability they will have. However, Albert has a mysterious tile that no one will explain to him. He spends his time in the Core trying to figure out who and what he is, along with his friends Leroy and Birdie. Together they must band together to be the best Balance Keepers team so that they can be sent to Calderon to help settle the unrest there. Will they be able to protect Calderon, The Core, and New York City, which is experience some crazy mountain ash atmosphere because of the imbalance in Calderon? Or will they fail and lose everyone they love?

See the similarities? They’re all great for kids, well anyone really, who loves adventure and fantasy. I’m planning on keeping all of these in my classroom library. These “coming of age” novels will be great for my 7th graders! And all middle schoolers need books with a friendship theme. That’s when it’s hardest for them to remember to be true to themselves and to make GOOD friends and not just try to be in with the “in” crowd.

After writing all these, I had a mental forehead slap as I though of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, but I would but that more on a mythological spectrum, rather than magical/wizarding. There definitely is magic in the Percy Jackson books, like his magical ball point pen but I would say those are more divine than scientific. In my opinion! But Percy Jackson has the group of friends aspect and going to school/camp, along with the above themes represented in these books. Maybe it was just my guilty conscious, because I love Percy so much…

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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“Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”
― R.J. Palacio, Wonder

BLURB

August Pullman looks a little different than the other kids around him but Auggie is an oridinary boy. He likes Star Wars, he’s makes good grades in school (especially science!), and he just wants to make friends. So why do people stare at him and act like they will catch something if they touch him? This is why Auggie is more than a little apprehensive about starting his 5th grade year at Beecher Prep. What will the other kids think of him? And how will he interact with them?

Review

I read this class because we’re reading it with our 7th graders once the school year starts. This isn’t normally a book I would be drawn to. Usually novels touching on subjects like this, I avoid. It’s normally too serious for me and there’s no fantasy in it.

I was pleasantly surprised with this one though. Although some parts were serious, it was filled with a lot of love, kindness, and different ways of approaching Auggie’s tough situation. I love how his condition did not hinder him in the least bit. It made him kind and he had a good attitude about everything. If anything, he made the best friends he could have just by being him. He found good people who were not judgemental and opened the eyes to many more people who were not so nice to him in the beginning. It’s not that most people wanted to be mean to Auggie, they didn’t understand and that lack of understanding made some of them fear him, in a way, when they first met him. But after spending some time with Auggie and getting to know him, most people realized he’s just like everyone else, he just looks a little different. I think Auggie helped everyone around him become more open-minded, not just to him but probably people who they will meet in the future who look different, or seem different.

Auggie, is 10 in the beginning of this book. I wasn’t sure how my 7th graders would connect with this book with the character being 2 or 3 years younger than them. But after reading the book, I think this novel is for kids of all ages. It’s an easy read and has a message that I think every person needs to understand. That it’s important to be kind, and to realize not everyone is made from the same cookie cutter, and that’s okay! Especially middle school kids in 7th and 8th grade. Preteens and teens are notorious for not being the nicest people. They’re in that awkward phase where fitting in is the most important thing in their life. And sometimes, unfortunately, those kids will tear others down to make themselves look and feel better. This novel tackles things like bullying directly and indirect bullying.

Bullying, or name calling/being actively mean to a person for selfish reasons is bad enough. What some kids don’t know that indirect bullying can be just as bad. Such as standing by and not saying anything when a person is being bullied, or accidentally saying something that is insensitive. And sometimes people do say mean things by accident, and accidents happen but it’s important to remember to be present in conversations and to think about how you would feel if the situation were reversed.

One of the biggest aspect of this book is point of view. Going into this novel, I thought it would all be from Auggie’s perspective. But then the POV switches to Auggie’s older sister Via, then his friends, etc. It’s from all the perspectives of the children in the novel. I think that was a brilliant way to go about this book. It shows how each person copes with Auggie’s condition. You can see how some people are timid at first, some are super scared of offending him, some are embarrassed to be seen talking to him at first, and some don’t care at all!

My favorite POV was Via’s. Via is a special person. She never cared about the way Auggie looked until high school. And due to his struggles, she feels as if she has been put on the backburner by her parents. She doesn’t seem resentful about it, she seems like a very understanding teenager. But once she starts high school she becomes her own person. She meets all these new people who don’t know anything about her little brother with his “deformity” as some of the kids use to call it while she was growing up. She starts to reflect on how she’s just “Olivia” now and not “that girl who has the deformed brother.” I think this just makes her want to be more of an individual and to discover who SHE is as a person outside of her family. After awhile, she starts to feel a little apprehensive about Auggie coming to school to see her play at school and doesn’t want her classmates to see him. Her boyfriend and estranged best friend help her see that it’s not important. She realizes that she should be thankful to have such an awesome little brother and is ashamed of how she acted.

This entire novel is a learning experience for the characters and the reader. It actually stemmed from a learning experience of the author. Palacio says she went to an ice cream shop with her kids one day and they ran into a little girl similar to Auggie and her and her children left the shop to avoid the situation. (Most people are worried about what their kids will say in that situation due to lack of a filter.) Looking back on that day, Palacio says she wish she would have stayed and talked to the little girl with her kids and that this little girl inspired her to write Auggie’s story because she knew most people probably ran away from this sweet girl for artificial reasons.

I gave this novel 5/5 stars. I’ve never read a novel that did such an amazing job of spreading awareness to such a touchy subject that most people would rather avoid. I think kids and adults alike should read this book and get to know Auggie.

I love this book trailer. I thought y’all might like it too 🙂