Book Giveaway, book review, MMGM, R. J. Palacio, Sacramento Book Review, San Francisco Book Review, Shannon Messenger, Wonder

A Review of Wonder and Giveaway of Winter’s Tide

Thought for the day:

“Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very.” Your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” ~Mark Twain ~

A gift for my writer friends:

 Here are some links I think you will find valuable – four great ones this week.
For a wonderful site for those who rhyme, click HERE.  
Non-fiction children’s writer Gina Hagler has two wonderful science blogs – fascinating stuff for those who also write about science or have kids or grandkids interested in science. Click HERE and HERE to find them.
For a great addition to the Show Don’t Tell discussion, click HERE.

First, a BIG announcement — at least for me. My non-fiction article,  A Princess Who Can Tune an Engine, is in the March issue of Highlights Magazine. Stop by your dentist’s office or local library and take a look. I’m pretty excited.


For my fabulous giveaway, the winner is Nancy! (Cue the confetti!) Nancy, I will be sending you a copy hardbound A Smidgen of Sky. Thanks for reading my blog, Nancy. The book will be on its way soon. Enjoy! There will be another giveaway, so stay tuned and  please leave comments to have a chance in the drawing.


I have been hearing so much about the middle-grade novel Wonder by R. J. Palacio, that I had to take a break from my reading for the San Francisco/Sacramento Book Reviews and read this book. I’m so glad I did. It is such a heartwarming and honest story, the kind that sticks with you long after you’ve closed the book. It is the story of August Pullman, a young boy unlike anyone else around. Truly unlike others. He was born with birth defects most cannot imagine, leaving him with a face that literally stops people in their tracks. Auggie tells the reader at the beginning of the book “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.” Perhaps it is, but through the story, we get bits and pieces of descriptions until we have the whole picture and it’s not a pretty one, but by the time we really know what Auggie looks like, we can’t help but love and admire this amazing kid. He’s smart and funny and compassionate and tough as an armadillo’s shell.

Not everyone loves and admires Auggie. He is starting school, after being homeschooled all his life by his mother, when he is in fifth grade. He has an idea what he will face and doesn’t like the idea, but it seems he must try. His parents decide on Beecher Prep, a small middle school. Auggie faces exactly the kind of isolation he expected, but there are a few kind people who befriend him and make it a bit easier.

We all remember how cruel kids can be, but none of us faced what Auggie does. His intelligence and sense of humor help him to hang on through terrible times, but ultimately it’s Auggie who has to survive the war that swirls around him.

“the universe…takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we can’t see. like with parents who adore you blindly, and a big sister who feels guilty for being human over you. and a little gravelly-voiced kid whose friends have left him over you. and even a pink-haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. the universe takes care of all its birds.”

We, as readers, find it easy to focus on Auggie and forget how everyone around him is affected by his deformity, but R. J. Palacio writes this story in first person not only from Auggie’s point of view, but some of those who surround them, and we see through their eyes how far-reaching Auggie’s problem is and how brave others need to be in this tiny universe.

R. J. Palacio

I can’t recommend this book enough. It will surely be read in middle-school classrooms for years to come, and should be. When my grandson saw me with the book, he told me, “Everyone in my class has read that. I want to read it.” That means I can’t give my copy away. He is dogging me and I have to hand it off. However, I promised a giveaway and so you shall have one.

If you click HERE, you will be taken to the review I wrote for the Sacramento Book Review of Winter’s Tide, a nice middle-grade novel. I will be sending my gently used ARC to one of you. Please leave a comment to have your name in the drawing. If you Tweet the link to this post or put it on FaceBook or put it on your blog post, please let me know and I will put your name in a second time.  I will post the winner on my next post, so check back.

Don’t forget to stop by Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday links. Click HERE to find it.

On the book giveaway, this is for U.S. only. Sorry, but it would be too expensive for me to send books out of the country. But please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Remember, if you have trouble leaving a comment, click on the title of the post and it will give you just this post with a comments section on the bottom. Also, if you haven’t signed up by email, please do. Just look in the upper right-hand corner of this page, pop your email address in, and you will receive an email each time I put up a new post. Your information will not be shared with anyone.           

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