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 By R.J. Palacio

August “Auggie ” Pullman has been homeschooled forever.

Until now.

He is different from other kids, because he has a facial deformity.  His doctor has called Auggie a miracle, because they weren’t sure he would survive.

His first day at Beecher Prep is a good and bad day.

He gets stared at. But he has Jack Will, a friend he met touring the school. Everything is going great. Until Halloween, when he overhears his best friend saying something mean.

The lesson Auggie learns is that you should choose the friends that are right for you. Friends that you can be yourself with. Friends that are loyal to you.

One reason I liked this book is because it conveys a message not just for kids like Auggie, but for everybody: Stand up for what you believe in.

Won’t you sign a pledge to CHOOSE KIND?


Watch the Wonder book trailer.

Learn more about R.J. Palacio.


Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you should stop reading. I certainly don’t. So below I have put together my Summer Reading List & Book Wishlist.

As usual, I got a lot of great ideas looking around in the kids’ department at Quail Ridge Books the other day. Let’s hope I end up with my own copies of some of these – my birthday is coming up, after all! (update: LitKid was lucky enough to get the boldfaced titles for her birthday … she’ll have a lot of reviews to share soon.)

~ LitKid

LitKid also put our annual list of ‘fun things we could do this summer’ on a giant Post-It that’s now hanging in our hallway; be sure to note the last one on that list. (!)
(I was thinking I’d do well if I read 15 or 20 from my kid and grownup ‘to read’ stacks!)
~ AKId@Heart

LitKid’s Summer Reading List … 2012 Edition

  • Septimus Heap Series, Angie Sage
      • Flyte
      • Physik
      • Queste
      • Syren
      • Darke
  • The Popularity Papers, Amy Ignatow
  • Middle School: the Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson
  • School of Fear: Class is Not Dismissed! Gitty Daneshvari
  • The One & Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate
  • The Wednesday Wars, Gary D. Schmidt
  • The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
  • Sent, Margaret Peterson Haddix  (2nd book in the “Missing” Trilogy)
  • The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary, Jeff Kinney
  • The Babysitter’s Club: The Summer Before, Ann M. Martin
  • Dork Diaries Series, Rachel Renee Russell
      • Tales from a NotsoFabulous Life
      • Tales from a NotsoPopular Party Girl
      • Tales from a NotsoTalented Pop Star
      • Tales from a NotsoGraceful Ice Princess
  • The Extroardinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Prairie Evers, Ellen Airgood
  • Close to Famous, Joan Bauer
  • Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys
  • The Search for WondLa, Tony DiTerlizzi
  • Bigger Than a Bread Box, Laurel Snyder (Read this already, but want a copy of my own cuz it was awesome 🙂 
  • Lemonade Crime, Jacqueline Davies
  • Bliss, Kathryn Littlewood
  • The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau
  • Scumble, Ingrid Law
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E. L. Konigsburg

P.S. Happy Summer!!!!

P.P.S. What’s on your Summer Reading List?

Emily’s Runaway Imagination

By Beverly Cleary

I live on the opposite side of the country from my parents and my childhood home, and when I was visiting recently, I came across this gem.

I don’t necessarily remember reading Emily’s Runaway Imagination in 1983, but I tore through it again during my visit. It was published in 1961 and set in the 1920s, and I’m sure know-it-all-first-grader-me thought it was old-fashioned. But the beautiful charm of Beverly Cleary’s books is in their utter timelessness. She once said (and I love her dearly for this), “Quite often somebody will say, ‘What year do your books take place?’ and the only answer I can give is, in childhood.”

Ramona Quimby holds a huge chunk of my heart, and I think Emily and Ramona would be the best of friends. Emily is a bit more refined, but has just as many dashes of spunk. She receives letters from her city cousin Muriel about the wondrous book Black Beauty and how she has read it countless times. But there is no library in tiny Pitchfork, Oregon. Emily fiercely plots and plans for a library and rallies the entire town to help.

And she’s a wise little one. Pulling the wishbone from the church potluck …

“She would wish for Black Beauty, because that was a little, selfish wish. Faith was for big, unselfish things like a library for the whole town.” 

But just as the title suggests, she has moments of adorable kookiness that will instantly endear her to any reader. Because if Muriel can love Black Beauty so much, why can’t Emily dump Clorox all over her plow horse, Lady? Surely a snow white horse would be just as lovely? How was she supposed to know what would happen when she gave the hogs a smorgasboard of rotten apples? And at that church potluck, her imagination rescues her from the sheer embarrassment of sharing ugly, misshapen pies.

It’s a grand thing that someone in Pitchfork has a runaway imagination … thanks to Emily’s, they just might get that library after all.

I’m so glad I found this book again. Emily has my imagination and dreams running rampant. It’s definitely a must read if you need a little spark!

Carter Higgins was an early follower and enthusiastic cheerleader for our blog, and we’re excited that’s she’s agreed to write guest reviews for us when she feels inspired.

Carter is a motion graphics designer and a former elementary school librarian. When she is not creating graphics for TV or writing picture books, she teaches design courses in color, layout, and composition, as well as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects. All of these interests combine in her Design of the Picture Book blog (it’s an excellent blog; you’ll be missing out if you don’t visit). You can find her on Twitter at

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June 2012
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