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This book was recommended to me by another librarian as a chapter book to increase empathy and kindness in students. Praised as a “non-fiction Wonder” (referring to RJ Palaccio’s life-altering novel, Wonder), Ugly is the real-life memoir of Robert Hoge, born with a large tumor down the middle of his face and legs that were not fully developed. Ugly is written with a positivity and a sense of humor that makes it zip by – pretty remarkable considering the first couple of chapters deal with the fact that the author’s mother was desperate to distance herself from him when she first saw him at birth. The book has all of the pieces that you would expect from a memoir focused on looking and feeling different; inspiring anecdotes, honesty about hardship, reflections on the way people who look different are treated in our society. The tone is much more straight-forward non-fiction than lyrical narrative, which kept me at arm’s length. Don’t expect to get swept up in story and weep for Robert as you read, but you will cheer as he works to find his place in a world that doesn’t quite know how to react to him. Clocking in at exactly 200 pages, Ugly is a quick read and could make an entertaining read aloud for classrooms looking to continue the Wonder “Choose Kind” theme. Kudos to Hoge for turning what must have been a difficult childhood into a story that we can all share and learn from. #bookreview #ugly #wonder
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