Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Never Too Late For Summer Reading Suggestions

Yes, I know, summer is nearly over, so why are you doing a summer reading post now. Well, while that may be true, we all know summer reading lists are just an excuse to write about books we love.  And let's not forget, September and October are beautiful weather months, too. The beaches will be less crowded, so there will be more room for the stack of books we will bring with us to the beach in August and September. You may not be able to wear white, but you can read in peace on the beach!

Here are some of our favorite books for kids, tweens, teens, and adults.  

Princess Sydney Strong: What Makes Me Different 

I was so thrilled to hear that my friend Jerry Carchi wrote a book inspired by his lovely daughter Sydney. She is beautiful, strong, funny, smart, and what an incredible mom and dad, too. The story and graphics truly transport you to the kingdom of resilience, where the story is set. Carchi achieved a strong narrative arc while spreading the message of acceptance, love, and joy in the face of adversity. I really want to live in Carchi's resilience kingdom even though I know, and love, my own version just as well. The pictures in the book are fun and bright, filled with warmth and depth. This book would be wonderful for anyone and everyone who feels unique. We all can be Princess Sydney strong if we choose to. Will you?

                                                      Smile with Simon
Simon and the Buddy Branch 
By Patricia Ann Simon, R.N.
Both of these children's books hold a special place in my heart. Author, advocate, and nurse Patricia Simon pairs a compelling cast of animals with excellent illustrations to share her message of kindness.  Knowing it is okay to be different is an easier pill for kids to swallow when told by a friendly bird and his feathered friends. Patricia's second book, Simon and the Buddy Branch focuses on inclusion. I cry every time I read Simon and the Buddy Branch because I remember what is was like to feel excluded like Buddy. Thankfully he was able to overcome the exclusion thanks to the help of his friends. 

Ride High Pineapple

By Jenny Woolsey
This gutsy contemporary realism novel, is a must read for any child or teenager. Ride High Pineapple is written through the honest eyes of a teenager born with a rare craniofacial syndrome, Crouzon Syndrome. She also suffers from severe anxiety. Written as a journal, the story deals with critical childhood issues: bullying, difference, mental illness, friendship ups and downs, and young love. It also shows how one can find self-empowerment through sports.

CCA loves this book because it goes along with our educational initiatives in that it is yet another text that is relatable, enjoyable, and features a young person with a facial difference. Offering an additional perspective to Wonder, Ride High Pineapple captures the raw emotions that teen girl, Issy Burgess, experiences. The book presents another lovable character who struggles with bullying at school. Plus, since it's from an Australian author, you'll pick up lots of cool new Aussie jargon!

Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley

And we end with a classic for us all. The first science fiction/horror book ever written, there is more to it than purely a good scare. No, I believe Frankenstein's prose painfully describes what it is like to be different. The story of a man who creates a creature that is suspected to be terrorizing the countryside gives us a new perspective on what it means to be alien, and not of this world. Once Shelley begins telling the story from the perspective of the creature, one feels a bit more empathy for his plight. Anyone who may feel like "the other" will relate to this tome. People in the facial difference community should pick it up and read it through the lense of the creature to see the profound understanding that Shelley had on what it is like to be an outcast. And to think, the author was only 19 when she wrote this book!

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