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Radiance Descending

3.1  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A Newbery Award-winning author tells the story of a boy who feels angry and rejected because his younger brother has Down's syndrome and how, through a series of surprising events, he begins to wonder if his brother is indeed worth loving.
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published November 9th 1999 by Turtleback Books (first published 1997)
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Radiance Descending by Paula Fox is aimed towards a high school audience but Fox's writing is as en pointe as ever and this book is worth reading at any age.

Paul is three years old when his parents return from the hospital carrying his new baby brother, Jacob. Although he notices that the baby looks different, it is only as Jacob grows older that Paul begins to understand what it means to have Down's Syndrome. And from his point of view, it means that Jacob gets most of his parents time and ener
Mar 17, 2012 Jill rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: families of children with special needs
I was hoping for a little more closure and resolution at the end of this story. Paula Fox does an excellent job of portraying the range of feelings that a sibling of a developmentally challenged child might feel. But I would have liked to see more change and growth from the main character, Paul. Paula Fox takes a more realistic approach, letting the reader know that relationships don't change overnight. Maybe by giving a glimmer of possible change Fox is laying the foundation for a more permanen ...more
Frank Hoppe
Jun 10, 2015 Frank Hoppe rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Boatman
Oct 02, 2013 Elizabeth Boatman rated it it was ok
This is a tough book. Older brother Paul spends the entire book denying the existence of his younger brother Jacob who has Down's syndrome. Paul's behavior seems extreme and the parents do very little to help him understand the situation. His only hope is his grandfather and the family moves away from the city where the grandfather lives.

One thing I did like about the book is the development of Paul. I thought the flashes of maturity that he experiences were nicely handled. They happen in a mom
Books Kids Like
Sep 04, 2014 Books Kids Like rated it really liked it
Shelves: fox-paula
In true Paula Fox fashion, this book makes you read between the lines. An adult reader would find it much more interesting than any child in the intended age-group audience.
Jul 08, 2010 Julie rated it liked it
This is a junior fiction novel so I guess I shouldn't have set my expectations too high. The book was really repetitive - 100 pages could have been reduced to about 30. Paul wants nothing to do with his younger brother, Jacob, who has Down's Syndrome. As The boys get older, Paul shuts Jacob out more & more. Their wise old grandpa steps in and helps Paul understand his brother's disability. That's it, that's the story. A better choice if you're looking for a junior novel about differently-abl ...more
Feb 20, 2009 Duane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm usually a big fan of Paula Fox's work, but this book was a big let down. She writes a story about Paul, a older brother of Jacob,who has Down Syndrome. The story follows Paul as he does everything he can to erase Jacob from his everyday family life. Fox goes too far and makes Paul a character you truly don't like even if he has legitimate reasons to be who he is. The ending is completely flat and is one of the worst endings I've ever read in a book. She leaves the story in mid sentence and f ...more
Nov 06, 2008 Bennett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-readers
Five years separate Paul from his younger brother, Jacob, who has Down syndrome. With meticulous tenderness, this story gentles Paul out of his rage at a family situation he can't control. Slowly, dramatically, Paul begins to let the light of Jacob's presence in the family stream into his brightening view of the world.

When he sees all the attention which his parents and people in the neighborhood give to Jacob, eleven-year-old Paul struggles with his feelings toward this younger brother
Apr 10, 2013 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-books
I was disappointed in this book. I usually like Paula Fox, but this one was kind of flat. It's about Paul who has a younger brother with Down Syndrome. Paul can't stand Jacob. Jacob has taken all of his parents' love and time and he's clumsy and strange looking and always saying dumb things. I kept expecting Paul to finally wake up, and he kind of did, but the book seemed to end too soon. It kind of left you hanging.
Jan 10, 2009 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Read for Children's Literature portfolio
Shelves: 2007, age-middlegrade
A pre-teen, Paul, has to learn how to live with his mentally challenged younger brother. For most of his life he has tried to learn not to think about Jacob, until he moves to a new town and finds himself helping to care for Jacob. With help from his grandfather, Paul realizes that people in the town don’t think of Jacob as a reflection on Paul. The ambiguous ending prevents the story’s moral from being too didactic.
Feb 15, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it
a baby w/down syndrome is born, and his five year o. he's different, slow, gets all the attention older brother resolves NOT TO THINK ABOUT HIM. feel good ending, everything turns out okay. but not in this book. the last chapter gives a glimmer of hope. defn. not your "everything turns out okay" novel.
well worth reading.
Feb 19, 2009 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: j-fiction
I struggled with rating this one. It was very well-written, but it's just so depressing. The boy is really mean to his brother; I think Fox took it a little too far, trying to get the reader to understand his frustration with his brother. Instead I just felt angry at the character, not sympathetic.
Jan 13, 2011 Anne rated it it was ok
Shelves: tween, teen, clean-reads
This book was heavy on the "why I can't stand having a brother with DS" and light on the "Wow, he's a person, too" at the end. I wish she'd carried it on a few more chapters to show Paul's changed attitude toward his brother and how that would have affected his own life, too.
Apr 21, 2010 Karen rated it it was ok
I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. I think Cynthia Lord's Rules handles a very similar topic (though that brother has Autism, not Down's) in a much more relatable way. I would recommend that book over this one to my students.
Dec 07, 2011 Maddie rated it did not like it
Wow! This book totally SUCKED! Honestly how can a book get worse than this? The whole freakin story is about a stupid little kid who hates his DS brother! Awful. Hated this book but hey its like a hundred pages:outrageously easy A
Alfie Dagondon
Jan 31, 2013 Alfie Dagondon rated it it was amazing
how i can read it ??
Anna rated it did not like it
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Sep 02, 2015
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Paula Fox is an American author of novels for adults and children and two memoirs. Her novel The Slave Dancer (1973) received the Newbery Medal in 1974; and in 1978, she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. More recently, A Portrait of Ivan won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 2008.

A teenage marriage produced a daughter, Linda, in 1944. However, given the tumultuous relationship wit
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