In Auggie & Me, Palacio delves into three secondary characters from Wonder: Julian, Christopher and Charlotte. This is definitely NOT a sequel--thIn Auggie & Me, Palacio delves into three secondary characters from Wonder: Julian, Christopher and Charlotte. This is definitely NOT a sequel--the action takes place before and during the same time as Wonder. It does not tell the story of what happens to Auggie after Wonder finishes. But it is a companion novel (or rather three short books) best read after Wonder, "an expansion of Auggie's world," as Palacio writes in her introduction.
The three characters at the center of these short books were all impacted by Auggie, but these are their stories. We get to understand Julian, how his nightmares affected the way he reacted to Auggie, how his mother kept making excuses for him as opposed to helping him take responsibility for his actions. Palacio doesn't justify or defend Julian's actions, but she helps readers see inside him. And she lets Julian, who was so awful to Auggie in Wonder, go through his own transformation.
Charlotte's story, in Shingaling, shone the most brightly for me, perhaps because her insecurities resonated with me, or perhaps because her friendship struggles were separate from Auggie's and so more fully developed as a standalone story. But most likely, it's because of the way that Charlotte learns to overcome her worries, her social anxieties and her own inner-judgments to become friends with two girls she didn't know at all before 5th grade started.
Families and teachers will enjoy reading Auggie and Me aloud precisely for the way it leads to conversations, just like Wonder did. There are times that reading Julian's voice may be difficult, with his casual cruelty and naive declaration that he didn't mean to hurt anyone. And Charlotte sounds a lot like an insecure kid at times. But these voice rang true to me, and they let readers see inside other kids.
In the end, Auggie and Me helps create empathy, leads to conversations about kindness and trust, makes way for small steps toward accepting others for who they are....more
With short entries, Thimmesh shares how women created ingenious inventions ranging from eminently helpful like Liquid Paper or the windshield wiper, tWith short entries, Thimmesh shares how women created ingenious inventions ranging from eminently helpful like Liquid Paper or the windshield wiper, to technically complex like the “space bumper” that protects NASA spacecraft and astronauts. The book ends with suggestions and resources to help young women start inventing on their own. ...more
Every day, A wakes up in a different body. It's always been like that as long as he/she has known. A completely accepts this way of life; it's just thEvery day, A wakes up in a different body. It's always been like that as long as he/she has known. A completely accepts this way of life; it's just the way it is. Each day is a new day, learning about a new person, living each day in the moment. As A explains, "Every day I am someone else. I am myself - I know I am myself - but I am also someone else. It has always been like this." As you probably noticed, A is not a girl or a boy. A has an identity that isn't attached to a body or a physical gender. Sometimes A wakes up female, sometimes male. Alex McKenna embodies the A's perspective perfectly in the audiobook narration, bringing the listener into A's perspective, shifting voices just enough to give a sense of different characters A embodies but keeping a solid voice as A throughout. In my mind, I keep switching the pronoun I use to describe A, and will do so in the rest of this reflection.
A goes through life by respecting the body he is in for the day and not making any lasting connections. There is always today, but A can never have a tomorrow since tomorrow A will be in a different body. This existence is lonely, but it is also freeing - A is able to focus on herself. Until she meets Rhiannon. Then life completely changes for A. A falls deeply in love with Rhiannon, perhaps obsessively, and cannot stop thinking about her. The rules A has developed for himself cannot apply any more, because A realizes that Rhiannon is someone she wants to be with every day, no matter what body she inhabits.
David Levithan started this book by thinking about two questions. What would it be like going through life with no connections? And what would it be like to fall in love with someone who was physically different every day? At a recent book talk, Levithan described how this is the first novel he's written where he's started with questions and written without a detail plot outlined. He wanted each chapter, each character A wakes up as to be new for him, to be fresh. Levithan has created over 30 unique, interesting characters - and yet, he has also created a consistent voice for A throughout. It's absolutely riveting.
As the story progresses, A and Rhiannon develop a strong attachment - trying to keep connected as A changes every day. Rhiannon loves A, but she finds it very difficult to ignore his physical body. Sometimes A shows up in a girl's body, other times in a boy's body. Their relationship is fraught with complications that teens will identify with - acceptance, communication, jealousy.
The questions A wrestles with are authentic, organic to the story. They never overwhelm the story. Teens will be fascinated with Levithan's philosophical musings on love, identity, longing, gender and relationships, and yet they will ultimately be drawn to this love story. Can we overcome our physical identities and love someone for who they are on the inside?Can you truly love someone who cannot be there for you every day?
Could this really happen? Well, no - this is fantasy. And yet, this will appeal to teens who love realistic fiction because Levithan writes so well about the real life relationships between these teens. My own teen coined the term "realistic fantasy." What do you think of it?...more