Thursday Book Feature: 365 Days of Wonder

365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Brown’s Book of Precepts

by R. J. Palacio

Copyright 2014.

This is a companion book to Wonder, which I reviewed here last week. Mr. Brown, August’s English teacher, gives his fifth grade students a saying or “precept” each month and asks them to write about it. He has compiled a book of these precepts for each day of the year.

This book is divided into sections, arranged by month. At the beginning of the book and after each section is a vinyet by Mr. Brown, in which he reflects on one or more precepts and includes essays and letters from his students.

I like the way an issue not closed in Wonder is resolved in this book, which is also written for children. All of us at any age can relate to many of the precepts. In fact, they could be used as writing prompts for adults.

Now it’s your turn. At the end of each school year, Mr. Brown asks students to send him post cards with their own precepts. I encourage you, my loyal readers, to do the same. You don’t have to send me a postcard. Just leave your precept in the comment field below. If you’re not sure what a precept is, you can refer to the book for examples. You could also pick a precept from the book and comment on what that precept means to you. In any case, I’m looking forward to hearing from you about precepts.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

***

Thursday Book Feature: Wonder

Wonder

by R. J. Palacio

Copyright 2012.

For the first four years of his education, August, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder resulting in severe facial deformity, was home-schooled. As this book opens, he is told that he will be starting fifth grade at a prep school near their home in River Heights, a suburb of Manhattan, New York. Naturally, he is reluctant to go, and as you can imagine, he has a hard time fitting in with other kids. This story is told from several points of view including August’s sister and his best friend, a couple of his sister’s friends, and of course August himself. At the end, there’s a list of sayings August’s teacher writes on the blackboard each month during the school year.

One thing I liked about the Brilliance Audio production of this book was how each of the three narrators portrayed each character from who’s point of view they were reading the story, as well as other minor characters. As I listened, I was taken back to my own school days, especially my experiences with starting junior high in a new school. In the good old days, junior high was similar to middle school now in that students move from one classroom to another every hour and have lockers. The book also helped me put those experiences in perspective. Because of my visual impairment, like August, I wasn’t popular at first, but at least kids weren’t screaming and running away from me or calling me a freak.

Once I got into this book, it was hard to put down. I laughed and got mad and was almost moved to tears by the ending. By telling the story from the first person point of view of each of the major characters, the author writes in a style that identifies with both kids and adults. For this reason, this book should be required reading for students from fifth grade up. Even adults can learn, from this book, lessons about open-mindedness and acceptance of others not like us.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

***