professornana (professornana) wrote,

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wild and wonderful

I have been reading up a storm this year (about 150 books so far, many of them picture books). And I have been scheduling my blog posts trying to get about a month in advance so that I can "catch up" with some other projects. However, I wanted to get word out on these two books ASAP. They need to be on your radar and in your TBR stacks (IMHO).

THE WILD BOOK by Margarita Engle (Harcourt, March 2012) is a novel in verse based loosely on Engle's grandmother. Fefa struggles with reading. Words are like puzzles that refuse to give up their secrets. Her mother is told that Fefa might never learn to read or write. But her mother gives Fefa a blank book and instructs her to plant a garden of words in it. As Fefa struggles, the blank book begins to fill with words and images and lovely new growth. THE WILD BOOK explores what it is like to struggle with comprehension and how patience and care can help a budding reader and writer plant those important early seeds. <152>

WONDER by R J Palacio (Knopf 2012) draws readers in from the opening sentence where August announces that he knows he is not your ordinary 10 year old. For one thing, this will be the first year Auggie will attend school. He has been home schooled until now. His medical condition has meant frequent surgeries, and his mother has been his instructor to date. But now Auggie will face the other students in school. That is no simple thing when your appearance is beyond description. Even Auggie admits that whatever you are thinking, it is probably worse. The Principal of the school invites Auggie to come visit the school before it opens. He entrusts three other students to sort of watch out for Auggie, to be the compassionate friend Auggie will need. This is not an easy request for the three, either. Auggie begins school, open to the slings and barbs of his classmates. It is a year that will be brim full of learning experiences, not all of them about reading and math. Palacio has explored what it means to be accepted and rejected, what it means to be human and thus to be open to hurt and also to wonder. The possible ladder rungs for this book are wide ranging: from FREAK THE MIGHTY to THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and so many more. <153>
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