It was fantastic! I had my students come up with questions ahead of time, and they had some great ones.
Lots and lots of questions about the names in the book. The main character and her grandfather share the same name! And wonderful questions about the rich language - we've talked a lot about the figurative language in the book. Plus they wanted to know about the art that Auggie create with her grandfather - how did Holly come up with those ideas AND the whole process of writing a book. Holly was so gracious and answered each question so fully that my students really got an understanding of the novel and writing. It was a great experience, and I'm so glad my students were given the opportunity!
Now about the book The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky
August “Auggie” Jones lives with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” Auggie is determined to prove that she is not as run-down as the outside of her house might suggest. Using the kind of items Gus usually hauls to the scrap heap, a broken toaster becomes a flower; church windows turn into a rainbow walkway; and an old car gets new life as spinning whirligigs. What starts out as a home renovation project becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. Auggie’s talent for creating found art will remind readers that one girl’s trash really is another girl’s treasure.
I just did a guest post on the "magic" of middle grade books - how they can touch the lives of middle grade readers. This is one of those middle grade books. It is wonderful. Auggie is such a great girl. I loved her! She was sweet and smart and easily frustrated (like me!) and so determined to do what needs to be done to help her neighborhood. I could only wish to have her level of determination! As an adult, I see the uphill battle that Auggie is going to have to wage against this committee. It's a battle that many adult would debate whether to fight at all. Not Auggie - she digs her teeth into solving it and refuses to give up! It's the kind of tenacity that we adult envy in kids.
But the story is more than Auggie's fight with the beautification committee. It's also the story of her relationship with her grandfather and her absent mother. I found that part of the story very real and very touching. It added a level of depth that took the book from a good middle school book to a GREAT middle school book.
If you're looking for a story with heart, hope and love - then check this one out!