When Alexis discovers her mom left clues behind before she went overseas on a top secret mission, Alexis dons her best detective hat to solve the mystery of where in Hawaii Mom hid her secret treasure.
It may take some trained attack-grasshoppers, a jar of spiders, and a very special peacock to save the family farm, but Paige is up to the task.
Inspired by real events in the author's life, A Monster Like Me teaches the importance of believing in oneself, accepting change, and the power of friendship.
When Alexis discovers special clues that her mom left before she went overseas on a top secret mission, Alexis dons her best detective hat to solve codes, cyphers, and riddles to find where in Hawaii Mom hid her secret treasure.
In the vein of Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew, Alexis uses her code-breaking skills to follow Mom's challenge wherever it leads--even if that means helping grumpy old Uncle and overcoming her greatest fear.
Family, STEM Skills, Courage, Self-Acceptance, and Friendship
From the back cover:
Paige's favorite family tradition on the farm is the annual bonfire where everyone tosses in a stone and makes a wish. This time, Paige's specific wish is one she's not sure can come true: Don't let Mom and Grandpa sell the farm.
When Paige's younger brother finds a wounded peacock in the barn, Paige is sure it's a sign that if she can keep the bird safe, she'll keep the farm safe too. Peacocks, after all, are known to be fierce protectors of territory and family.
With determination and hard work, Paige tries to prove she can save the farm on her own, but when a real estate agent stakes a "For Sale" sign at the end of the driveway and threatens everything Paige loves, she calls on her younger brother and her best friends, Mateo and Kimana, to help battle this new menace. They may not have street smarts, but they have plenty of farm smarts, and some city lady who's scared of spiders should be easy enough to drive away.
But even as the peacock gets healthier, the strain of holding all the pieces of Paige's world together gets harder. Faced with a choice between home and family, she risks everything to make her wish come true, including the one thing that scares her the most: letting the farm go.
Wendy's school presentations are exceptional with both inspiration and writing tips that students and faculty can use in the classroom to write their own stories. Read more about Wendy's school presentations here
If you are interested in having Wendy visit your school, please email Wendy.
Check out the cool swag for The Wish and The Peacock below!
I give bookmarks and posters at every school presentation & book signing.
(And sometimes peacock feathers too!)
Scroll down or click here to read some of the excellent trade reviews for
The Wish And The Peacock.
I have some seriously talented Shoshone-Bannock friends who helped make this story as true to life as we could
When her home in rural Idaho is threatened, Paige and her Latino and Shoshone friends cook up a plan to save it.
Bookmarks, Posters, and Peacock Feathers! Wendy brings cools swag to school visits.
"Emotional and rich, The Wish and the Peacock concerns families, loss, and acceptance...The story grapples with the pain of losing a parent. Paige conflates the farm with her father; its loss would be too much to bear. The fact that Paige cannot care for the farm on her own is a hard lesson. She and her friends plan multiple pranks to sabotage the sale, leading to the central conflict, which contains humor and sadness in equal measure. Set in Idaho, the story includes educational details about growing crops and tending to livestock. The families of Paige's friends work together and help one another out, creating a sense of a close-knit community. The peacock is an important character.... As Paige and Scotty learn about the bird, it becomes a symbol for all that they want to protect, and ultimately of all of the things that they must let go. The Wish and the Peacock is a thoughtful novel about love, loss, and the hope of a new beginning." --Foreword Reviews
“A young Idaho girl tries to save her family’s farm.
Since her father’s death, 12-year-old Paige has been taking on all the farm chores, determined to keep her father’s regular farming schedule. When her mother and grandfather bring in a real estate agent to try to sell the farm, Paige enlists her younger brother, Scotty, and some friends to try to sabotage the sale of the farm. Simultaneously, a wounded peacock shows up on the farm, which Paige and Scotty secretly nurse back to health. Heartfelt and funny, the story captures the lives of often underrepresented farming families, and though the trope of children scheming to save something beloved that’s in peril through hijinks and humor is familiar, it engages in a deeper discussion of the threat development poses to farmland. The story is set on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation in southeastern Idaho; Paige, who is white, is best friends with Kimana, a Shoshone-Bannock girl who’s also her robotics partner, and Mateo, who is Latinx and whose family owns the neighboring farm. All characters are fully realized, and the book offers authentic views of rural kids navigating long distances between friends’ houses on dirt bikes and to and from school via bus ... Swore, who lives on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation, includes brief narratives from two Shoshone-Bannock friends in her author’s note...
An impressive tale carrying universal themes of grief, change, and letting go.”
This trailer gives a really good feel for how Sophie's magical world fits in with the real world in A Monster Like Me. Compassion Makes Us Human! #OwnStories #Bullying #KidsNeedBooks #MentalHealth #MiddleGradeBooks
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We used an advanced readers copy (ARC) of A Monster Like Me as a Flat Stanley in China.
In the authors note, Wendy talks about her experience with a hemangioma as a child.
Download the PDF for classroom questions to spark conversations about themes and characters in A Monster Like Me.
Want to see Wendy in person? She'll post information on book tours and signings here.
Advanced Review - Uncorrected Proof
Issue: February 1, 2019
*A Monster Like Me. By Wendy S. Swore Mar. 2019. 304p. Shadow Mountain, $16.99 (9781629725550). Gr. 5-8
For as long as she can remember, Sophie has identified herself as a monster. She either shrouds her face with her long hair or hides behind her Big Book of Monsters to keep others from seeing the hemangioma on her face. She knows that people will think if she's disfigured on the outside, she must be on the inside.
Now, starting in her new school in Portland, she's speechless when a lively girl in her class (never even looking at her mark) declares they will be best friends. Smart, but self-consciously quiet, Sophie thinks she can identify other people as various types of monsters, witches, or fae folk. Bullies may surround her, but Sophie must confront her own fears. Will she ever allow herself to be “just a human girl?” Swore integrates The Big Book of Monsters into the fabric of the book by beginning each chapter with the
description of a different monster, creating a disruption in the first-person narrative but also adding insight into how Sophie views the world.
Swore's character-driven debut, in the vein of R. J. Palacio's Wonder
(2012), allows readers to step inside Sophie's thoughts and to understand and empathize with her, leaving them to wonder how they would react if they were Sophie.
--- J. B. Petty
A Monster Like Me
Wendy S. Swore
Shadow Mountain Publishing (Mar 5, 2019)
Hardcover $16.99 (304pp)
Sophie’s got a hemangioma—a sure sign that she’s a monster, she thinks. In Wendy S. Swore’s tender A Monster Like Me, the imaginative grade schooler battles isolation and bullying to discover that growing stronger sometimes means realizing that there’s more to life than meets the eye. Newly arrived in Portland, Sophie and her single mother, Marlene, find themselves settling into familiar patterns. Early chapters highlight Sophie’s self-protective measures, from wearing goggles to feigning illness. Armed with her beloved Big Book of Monsters—a comforting way to make sense of a threatening world—Sophie gradually learns that her insistence on fantasy is costing her relationships.
The book strikes a careful balance, depicting realistic cruelties in everyday encounters like schoolyard name-calling. Sophie’s shame and unease are rendered with heartrending clarity, alongside Marlene’s complicated love, which both protects Sophie and holds her back. Other characters, including a man disfigured in combat, serve as thoughtful counterpoints, showing Sophie how others live with physical differences. A more dramatic, inevitable plot turn jolts Sophie out of her bubble; she sees there are always people with more serious problems. The book shines in its portrayal of finding self-acceptance.
Pages from the monster book add occasional life tips and lead toward lessons in gratitude, and Sophie’s flights of inspiration set her on a search for a cure. If some characters seem too sweet—including Autumn, a girl who declares herself a best friend, and Autumn’s Irish grandmother, who brings old-world charm with her fairy tale cottage home—they also provide needed safety nets.
A Monster Like Me is an intelligent and provocative story about a memorable girl who discovers her own unique talents, reminding those around her that everyone—no matter how they look—feels love and pain.
"A unique, whimsical, look at what it means to be a monster . . . and a human!"
- New York Times bestseller Jessica Day George
"Rare is the book to make me smile even as is touches my heart. A MONSTER LIKE ME is uplifting, inspiring, and speaks to the power of friendship, courage, and kindness. This story will stay with me for a very long time."
- New York Times Bestseller Jennifer A. Nielsen
“There’s Magic in these pages. I’ve never wanted to be a monster more.”
- Best Selling Author Obert Skye
"Reading a Monster Like Me brought back all the fears, hopes, plans, and changes I experienced in middle school. I cringed, cheered, worried, and hoped right along with Sophie. This book touched my heart is so many ways. Read it with your kids, grand kids, or best friend. You’ll all be pulled into this magical coming of age story."
- Author J. Scott Savage
“Imaginative, fun, and thought-provoking! Sophie was so real and engaging and her story reminds us that we all may have a monster hidden inside us. I just hope mine’s not a Strzyga.”
- Author Frank Cole
"Sophie’s story grapples with the power of imagination and importance of reality. A sweet story that is funny, tender, and creative."
- Author Shelly Brown
Sophie’s story is dear to my heart since I know how it feels to be bullied because I looked different from everyone else. When I was a child, I had a hemangioma on my forehead that stuck out so far my bangs couldn’t cover it, no matter how hard my mother tried. Because the tumor was made up of blood vessels, I could feel my heart beating inside it when I was playing hard or really upset.
The incident at the grocery store where the hydra lady says, “Hey, look kids! That girl doesn’t need a Halloween costume. She’s already got one!” is an exact quote of what a woman once said to my mother and me. Another woman told a classroom full of kids that I had the mark of the devil. Kids asked if it was a goose bump, or hamburger, or if my brains had leaked out. My dad had to chase away some bullies who had followed me home, called me names, and pushed me into the street. Sometimes, after a bad day of bullying, I wished I could just rip the mark off my face and be like everyone else—but it was a part of me, and wishing didn’t change that.
My parents decided to take an active role in educating the people around me so they would know what a hemangioma was and understand that it wasn’t icky, or gross, or contagious. Whenever we moved to a new place, my dad would go with me to the elementary school and talk to the kids about my mark and let them ask questions. After those talks, kids befriended me and noticed when bullies came around. Like Autumn, my school friends would speak up when they saw someone being mean to me, and sometimes they would stand between me and the bullies until they left me alone. I didn’t let the bullies stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I climbed trees, went swimming, wrote poetry, brought my tarantula and snakes to show-and-tell, and played in the tide pools.
This is my message to anyone who experiences bullying: Don’t let the bullies define you! I’ve been there, I know it hurts to be teased, but don’t let it stop you from doing what you want. Find something you enjoy—a hobby, talent, or challenge—and
practice that skill. Know that someone out there, maybe even someone in your same school, needs a friend as much as you do. Be that friend. Stand up for each other. And know that you are not alone.
You can always find me at WendySwore.com, and I would love to hear your stories and what you thought of the book.
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