Module 4: Wonder

wonder-book-cover Palacio, R.J. (2012). Wonder. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

Summary: August, or Auggie, was born with a rare disorder that causes him to look different and as a result, he has been homeschooled since kindergarten. Now that he is entering middle school, it has been decided that he should attend a real school. While at school, Auggie has to deal with not only the prejudices children have because of his disorder but also the issues that come with growing up and being in middle school.

Via, Auggie’s older sister, is now in high school and has decided she wants to go by Olivia. She wants a new identity, one where people don’t know here as Via, the girl with the deformed brother. She has lost her best friends with high school, has become part of school theater, has a new boyfriend, and is suddenly fighting with her mother. Why can’t anyone realize that Olivia exists, too?

And then there are the various people in Auggie and Olivia’s lives. Auggie becomes acquainted with Jack Will and Summer, his two best frends and Julian, his enemy. Olivia says goodbye to Miranda, her friend since elementary school and hello to Justin, her musician boyfriend. Bringing the story together are Auggie’s and Olivia’s parents.

Impressions: When I worked at San Antonio Public Library, older tweens and younger teens were asking for this book left and right and after reading it I can see why it is so popular. What I liked most about the book was not that you learn about acceptance of people who are different than you, sure that is the major theme of the book, but that Palacio incorporated the chapters offering the perspectives of the other characters. Too often in books, and in life, we get one side of the story. As I read Auggie’s story and I got to the Bleeding Scream part, I was angry at Jack Will. But when I read his chapter, I realized that he was in middle school and felt peer pressured and ultimately said something stupid, not thinking of the consequences. We have all been there.

Review: “After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.”

Kirkus Reviews. (2015, November 15). [Review of the book Wonder, by R.J. Palacio]. Kirkus Reviews, p. 73.


“Kids’ books about befriending somebody “different” could fill a library. But this debut novel rises to the top through its subtle shifting of focus to those who are “normal,” thereby throwing into doubt presumptions readers may have about any of the characters. Nominally, the story is about 10-year-old August, a homeschooled boy who is about to take the plunge into a private middle school. Even 27 operations later, Auggie’s face has what doctors call “anomolies”; Auggie himself calls it “my tiny, mushed-up face.” He is gentle and smart, but his mere physical presence sends the lives of a dozen people into a tailspin: his sister, his old friends, the new kids he meets, their parents, the school administrators—the list goes on and on. Palacio’s bold move is to leave Auggie’s first-person story to follow these increasingly tangential characters. This storytelling strategy is always fraught with peril because of how readers must refresh their interest level with each new section. However, much like Ilene Cooper’s similarly structured Angel in My Pocket (2011), Palacio’s novel feels not only effortless but downright graceful, and by the stand-up-and-cheer conclusion, readers will be doing just that, and feeling as if they are part of this troubled but ultimately warm-hearted community.”

Kraus, D. (2012, February 1). [Review of the book Wonder, by R.J. Palacio]. Booklist, 108(11), p. 77.

Library Uses: This is a great book to use during National Bullying Prevention Month (the STOMP Out Bullying campaign) which I see no reason libraries (or if someone was in a school library) can’t be apart of – as a community organization, we should play a role in ending bullying). Also, this is another great read for a book talk or tween book club. I can think of so many things to discuss, such as bullying, not jumping to conclusion, feelings about growing up, friendship, miscommunication.

Advertisements

Book trailer #3: The Ninth Ward

My final trailer is for The Ninth Ward, a book based on Hurricane Katrina. I enjoyed it but it was not my favorite of my three. Overall, it falls flat and could use more character development. It is fun and an easy read, though!

Images used in the film fall under creative commons copyright or the public domain; credit is below:

Continue reading “Book trailer #3: The Ninth Ward”

Book Trailer #2: Wonder

Because I loved Wonder even more than The Graveyard Book and it was for the same age group, I had to do a trailer for it as well. I had more fun making this one – I felt like I was actually directing a film as I searched for and placed the images.

Images used in the film fall under creative commons copyright or the public domain; credit is below:

Continue reading “Book Trailer #2: Wonder”

Book Trailer #1: The Graveyard Book

Can you tell that I love this book? It is just incredible fun! I had a time using iMovie to make this trailer, though. I made about 6 different versions of this trailer – the first one had cool effects but it was a template and I couldn’t as much as I would have liked. The versions after that had various glitches – even this one has a pink flash near the end for some unknown reason.

I am familiar with Creative Commons and the CC search, as I had to use it for LibGuides to add pictures so that is what I used for my photographs in my trailer (all photos have creative commons licenses). The credits for the photos are below the trailer.

The music in the trailer is copyright Apple, iMovie, and is their Suspense 1 & Suspense 2 tracks featured with iMovie.  


Continue reading “Book Trailer #1: The Graveyard Book”

Module 3: The Graveyard Book

51tAOAlaH7L._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_Gaiman, N. (2008). The Graveyard book. New York: HarperCollins Pub. 

Summary: Nobody Owens’ mother, father, and sister are brutally murdered when he is a toddler by a man named Jack. He narrowly escapes by carefully climbing out of his crib and wandering to the graveyard down the street while Jack continues his horrendous acts. At the graveyard he is adopted by a married ghost couple and raised by the rest of the ghosts in the graveyard, and with Silas, a dead but non-ghost inhabitant of the graveyard. As Nobody grows up, he learns the ways of the ghosts, including disappearing, dream walking, and haunting. The old saying “it takes a village” rings true with Nobody, as this village of graveyard citizens must work together to save Nobody from himself and from Jack, who continues his pursuit to kill Nobody.

Impressions: I have been avoiding Gaiman for years, as many of my friends are obsessed with his work and I did not want to jump on that bandwagon. However, one of my favorite adult genres is paranormal fiction so I decided to see how I would enjoy it in juvenile form. Additionally, I read that this book is very macabre and it is to my understanding that children’s lit has been heading in this direction. So I thought, “Let’s check this out.” First, I can understand why my friends read Gaiman. The writing sucks the reader in and though there are a few illustrations throughout, Gaiman’s writing is such that I was able paint a very vivid image of each chapter in my own head – this is what I enjoy in a book- if an author can transport me to that world, he/she is getting a thumbs up. Second, I enjoyed seeing the transition of Nobody through the years and his slow exit from the graveyard and entry into the world. Finally, I just need to finally learn to not knock something something until I have tried it – also, Newbery’s aren’t what they used to be!

Review: “Creepy, unsettling, and somewhat disturbing. That’s how Gaiman begins his multiple-award winning book, which draws the reader into the life and mystery of a young boy named Bod. We learn early in the book that as a toddler, Bod narrowly escaped a gruesome death by crawling down from his crib and out of the house just as the rest of his family was being slaughtered. He toddled his way down the street under the cover of darkness and straight into a graveyard, where he is immediately noticed by a few of the long-term spectral residents.

Mr. and Mrs. Owens, a childless couple who reside in the cemetery, are drawn to the toddler, and after two ghosts appeal to them to keep the boy safe, they take the boy into their care. Silas, a man who lives between the living and the dead, is appointed Bod’s guardian. His wise counsel and knowledge of the real and spiritual worlds helps a maturing Bod figure out who it is who wants him dead and why.

McKean’s wispy and somewhat ethereal illustrations in shades of gray and black are sprinkled throughout the book. The drawings and well constructed story will provoke the imagination and pique the reader’s curiosity about the mysterious alliances and connections within the story. Readers will never look at a graveyard in the same way after reading this cleverly crafted adventure. (MS)”

Anonymous. (2010, May). [Review of the book The Graveyard Book, by N. Gaiman]. Language Arts, 87(5), p. 403.

Library Uses: I can see myself using this book for a book talk or a tween book club.