Book Thoughts by Rachelle
A Monster Like Me is an imaginative middle grade story that will warm your heart.
Who better to review a children’s book than one of my own children? When Wendy Swore’s new book, a monster like me, came out I was excited to be able to review it. I let my thirteen-year-old daughter read it first and I’m including her review today. The premise of this book is really cool and I especially love the real life connection that it has to the author.
In the story, A Monster Like Me, I like the conflict of everything going on. The author has good details, but not too much. My favorite part of the book is close to the end, when Sophie finally finds her courage and doesn’t hide from people. I think that the author should not use too much detail in the beginning, because too much makes it a little boring. But all in all this was a great book and I definitely recommend it!
Here’s more about the book:
There are trolls, goblins, and witches. Which kind of monster is Sophie?
Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins. Her nice neighbor must be a good witch, and Sophie s new best friend is obviously a fairy. But what about Sophie? She s convinced she is definitely a monster because of the monster mark on her face. At least that s what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor. Sophie tries to hide it but it covers almost half her face. And if she s a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too.
Being the new kid at school is hard. Being called a monster is even harder. Sophie knows that it s only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out. And then her mom will probably leave just like her dad did.
Because who would want to live with a real monster?
Inspired by real events in the author s life, A Monster Like Me teaches the importance of believing in oneself, accepting change, and the power of friendship.
Sophie’s story is dear to my heart because I know how it feels to be bullied because I looked different from everyone else. When I was a child, I had a hemangioma on my forehead that stuck out so far my bangs couldn’t cover it, no matter how hard my mother tried. Because the tumor was made up of blood vessels, I could feel my heart beating inside it when I was playing hard or really upset.
The incident at the grocery store where the hydra lady says, “Hey, look kids! That girl doesn’t need a Halloween costume. She’s already got one!” is an exact quote of what a woman once said to my mother and me. Another woman told a classroom full of kids that I had the mark of the devil. Kids asked if it was a goose bump, or hamburger, or if my brains had leaked out. My dad had to chase away some bullies who had followed me home, called me names, and pushed me into the street. Sometimes, after a bad day of bullying, I wished I could just rip the mark off my face and be like everyone else—but it was a part of me, and wishing didn’t change that.
My parents decided to take an active role in educating the people around me so they would know what a hemangioma was and understand that it wasn’t icky, or gross, or contagious. Whenever we moved to a new place, my dad would go with me to the elementary school and talk to the kids about my mark and let them ask questions. After those talks, kids befriended me and noticed when bullies came around. Like Autumn, my school friends would speak up when they saw someone being mean to me, and sometimes they would stand between me and the bullies until they left me alone. I didn’t let the bullies stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I climbed trees, went swimming, wrote poetry, brought my tarantula and snakes to show-and-tell, and played in the tide pools.
This is my message to anyone who experiences bullying: Don’t let the bullies define you! I’ve been there, I know it hurts to be teased, but don’t let it stop you from doing what you want. Find something you enjoy—a hobby, talent, or challenge—and practice that skill. Know that someone out there, maybe even someone in your same school, needs a friend as much as you do. Be that friend. Stand up for each other. And know that you are not alone.
You can always find me at WendySwore.com, and I would love to hear your stories and what you thought of the book.
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