What It Is About: I can't remember ever reading a memoir written for middle-grade readers. Robert Hoge was born in Australia to a family with four older siblings. When Robert was born, his parents learned that he had a large tumor on his face and disfigured legs. At first his parents were shocked and not sure how to handle this newest addition to their family. Once they brought him home, they became his biggest advocates. As Robert grew up, he had to endure many difficult and complicated surgeries to repair both his face and legs. Robert wants to be like all the other kids at school and his own older siblings. He challenges both himself and his parents on the activities he wants to participate in. While growing up Robert faces both children and adults that treat him differently and others that look beyond his differences and treat him as any other child should be treated.
What I Thought Of It: Thank you to Donalyn Miller for pointing this book out to me. I absolutely loved it and could NOT put it down once I started. Robert is such a talented writer and had such a heart-warming and touching way of telling his story. I appreciated how he wrote it in a way that young readers would be able to understand and learn from his story. There were many moments when my heart hurt for Robert and his family. They all had such courage and strength in dealing with the differences and facing the world. Stories as these need to be shared with children so they can see what others are dealing with. I think by reading this memoir made me a better man and teacher.
Who Should Read It: I would say EVERYONE! As I posted on FaceBook, this is a memoir written for middle-grade readers, but I think all readers should read the book on their own and/or have it read to them. I know I'm going to use this as a read aloud with my fourth graders. I can't wait for the powerful discussions that I know will come from the story. There are so many important life-lessons that can be gained from Robert's story. This will be a book that I will be sharing with EVERYONE. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars