Monday, August 19, 2013

Book #21: Wonder by RJ Palacio

I just finished what might be the best book I've read all year. I want everyone in the whole world to read it. Wonder by RJ Palacio.

Because of a genetic defect, August Pullman was born with an abnormal face. "My name is August," he says, "I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse."

He endured countless surgeries throughout his life. Because of his health concerns and because they were afraid of how others would react, August's parents home schooled him through the fourth grade. As fifth grade approached, they decided to send August to school.

The novel rotates through several narrators, including August's sister, Via (who loves her brother dearly but describes her family with August as the sun and her mom, dad, and herself just planets that rotate around him, protecting him), Summer (who's just a nice kid), Jack (who becomes August's friend), Justin (Via's boyfriend), and Miranda (Via's troubled teenage ex-friend). Each of the narrators explains their own private "abnormality" which the author expertly weaves into August's story.

I want Tucker to read this book (I offered him $20 if he finishes it before school starts). I want teachers and students and parents to read this book. It simply teaches life lessons that I want everyone I know to learn.

I don't read a lot of adolescent lit, but Wonder is fantastic.

I hope to always be kinder than is necessary.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book #20: The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy

This book is also one "assigned" by new boss. We're going to do a book study with our leadership team this year, and she asked that we all read chapter one by our first September meeting. I'm not good at being in the middle of books, so I went on and finished it.

The book is a story about a man whose life is in shambles. His car breaks down, so he has to take the bus. Then he meets Joy, the driver of the bus, and over the course of the book she and her passengers give him ten rules for being an energetic leader. He then applies the rules, and -- wouldn't you know it -- his life gets better. 

I'm not a fan of self-help/leadership type books, but this one wasn't bad as far as they go. (I prefer to get my professional reading through my personal learning network on Twitter.) The life rules are good. The book was a quick read. That is all.

Book #19: From Good Schools to Great Schools: What Their Principals Do Well

My new principal asked us to read this book, so I did. It has many good ideas about how to lead a school, and I appreciated the comparisons and contrasts to how one would run a business. It was very research-y. That is all.