Author: Beth Vrabel
Publisher: Running Press
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
GoodReads Summary: Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That's because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective, prying mom and a big brother who is perfect in every way.
Then Caleb meets Kit-a vibrant, independent, and free girl who lives in a house in the woods-and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb's palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky, turns every day into an adventure, and never sees him as his disorder. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit's friend means embracing deception and, more and more, danger. Soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what's best for him-or Kit.
What I Think: Navigating relationships is something kids have to go through but also something that lasts into adulthood. Caleb has a lot of different relationships to manage in this book! I feel for him but I also love that Beth makes him relatable and shows the reality of what it's like to be a friend, a brother, and a son. I would recommend this to readers who enjoyed Lisa Graff's Lost In The Sun.
As a mentor text, this book is an opportunity to look at expanding small moments when writing personal narrative. Students can think about their own relationships and experiences and choose one moment to zone in on and describe for the reader. Students can take this opportunity to be descriptive and to use the five senses to build imagery and bring readers into the moment with them. Oftentimes, writers tell the story bit by bit, outlining a list of everything that happened. But it's important to be able to pause in a moment and zoom in on what's happening. You know those pictures where you get a 360 degree view? You can swipe from side to side and up and down to get a look all around. That's what we need to do as writers. Stop, turn around, and describe everything using our five senses so our readers can feel what it's like to be there too.
Snatch of Text: "Each step I took made my shoes suck deeper into mud with a squelching sound, and each time I lifted my feet it made my chest hurt. A few more yards in and I realized I was in trouble. My chest burned. I tried to ignore it. The pain twisted and coiled around my ribs - not like I couldn't breathe but like my body didn't want to." (p. 9)
Writing Prompt: Write about a time in your life when your brain wanted to do something but your body didn't or couldn't cooperate. Write about a time in your life when you were in a disagreement with someone close to you.
Bonus fun! Enter Beth’s #WhereIEscape giveaway and/or post your own photo of a place you go to get away from the world!
Thank you to Running Press Kids
for sending me a copy of this book to review!
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