This Book is Like Whoa

“Now here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince. Cover art for Wonder (above) is by Tad Carpenter, image from http://campusmlk.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/wonder.jpeg

posted by Beret

R.J. Palacio’s novel appears to be written for eight- to twelve-year-olds, but is, in reality, a compelling and inspiring book for readers of most any age. I do realize that Gina mentioned this book in a post from a while back, but after reading it myself, I felt it deserved a devoted post all to itself.

Wonder is the story of August Pullman, a boy born with severe facial abnormalities. He has been homeschooled by his mother his whole life, but when he turns ten, his parents decide to enroll him in a private middle school in New York City. Imagine all of the fear and insecurity, the freaky social and physiological transitions occurring at that time of life, and then imagine having to weather them all with a face that triggers screaming and crying, shocked stares, rude comments, and double-takes. “I won’t describe what I look like,” August says. “Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

August emerges as an honest and straightforward narrator, explaining in unemotional terms what it is like to walk through the world as he does. He maintains a sense of humor through many of his struggles, as well as a remarkable tolerance and understanding for the way people relate to him. Usually.   Continue reading “This Book is Like Whoa”

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Special Needs, Spectacular Reads

posted by Gina

One of my greatest challenges as an elementary school teacher was finding the kind of read-aloud that appealed to my entire class and motivated my students to read the same or similar books on their own. Skill levels in my classroom ran the gamut from a student who was reading high school books to another who didn’t know the alphabet.  Interest in school ranged from the reluctant student I saw maybe once a week to the always-there, always-early.  I had stereotypes on both ends of the gender spectrum, and those who defied every one.

In addition, the constant question: where to find the protagonists who reflect my students?  Where can my students who struggle find themselves as the hero?  Continue reading “Special Needs, Spectacular Reads”