Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins. Her nice neighbor must be a good witch, and Sophie's new best friend is obviously a fairy. But what about Sophie? She's convinced she is definitely a monster because of the "monster mark" on her face. At least that's what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor. Sophie tries to hide it but it covers almost half her face. And if she's a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too.
Being the new kid at school is hard. Being called a monster is even harder. Sophie knows that it's only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out. And then her mom will probably leave—just like her dad did.
Because who would want to live with a real monster?
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.
Ages 8 to 11, Grades 3 to 6
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE
The blonde lady follows the kid's pointing finger and stares at me, her eyebrows arching up into her poofy hair, which is okay, but then she opens her mouth, which is not. "Hey, look, kids! That girl doesn't even need a costume for Halloween! She's already got one."
Four heads peek around their mother like a five-headed hydra to stare and stare and then laugh. They point their fingers and giggle like it's the funniest joke in the world, but it's not funny. And I'm not laughing.
Mom's mouth drops open as the hydra family walks away, and I bury my face in my book. The echoing laughter hurts my ears. It grates and stings, and I press my face against the pages so I'll never have to see anyone ever again. My eyes burn, but I blink fast and hold the tears inside. I don't want Mom to see me cry, and besides, I don't want to wreck my book.
"Sorry about that," the clerk says over the sound of our groceries beeping across the scanner.
I peek over the book to see if he's making fun, but he really does look sorry.
Mom's face is red, her lips mashed tight in a thin line. The rest of the shoppers around us are quiet too, and I duck back into my book, hoping that Mom doesn't understand what the hydra lady was talking about. She knows part of the truth about me, but not all. And she never will if I can help it.
The checkout machine prints the receipt, and I hear the cashier rip it off. Mom's gentle touch pries my hand from the book and presses it against the cart's handle. I wait till we're out of the store to close my book, but even then, I keep my head down, my hair falling over my face like a curtain.
"You can open the fruit snacks now, if you want," says Mom.
I pretend I don't hear and run the last few steps to the car. Lights flash as she pops the trunk with her key button. "We have one more place we need to go today after we drop off the groceries, then we can do something fun. Maybe plan for your birthday next week?" She winks and flashes ten fingers plus one. ...
"Sophie? You okay?" Mom checks my reflection in the rearview mirror.
"I'm fine," I mumble.
As long as Mom never finds out the truth, it'll be okay. She'll still love me, and I can stay at home. Until then, I have to do what every other kid-who's not really a kid-does and hide my true nature from her. Only I can know.
I really am a monster.
|Size||8.3 x 5.5|
|Published||Shadow Mountain 2019|
|Audiobook Narrator||Taylor Meskimen|
|Audiobook Runtime||Approximately 9 hrs.|
This was a very good read. It is a different approach to how a child dealt with bullying. At first I really like the excerpts from her Big Book of Monsters. It helped me see how Sophie's mind was working. I will admit though, by the end of the book I was skipping those excerpts. I really liked how things worked out and how she was able to find a friend to help her through things. In an author's note, she said, "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." I would recommend this book to any middle grader out there.
This is a very cute book and one I think would be perfect for reading aloud to children. It has humor and creativity that will entertain both young and old while also bringing out the tender topics of bullying and how to treat those who may look or act different than us. This had a similar message and feel as the book, Wonder.
Books like this always strike a deep chord within me as my daughter also has a malformation in her face/neck area that was quite obvious when she was younger. It was so hard to be out in public where people were cruel- sometimes without really meaning to be, but thoughtless words hurt. I've cried many tears over the years for my beautiful daughter who has suffered through looking different and feeling different. Much like the author's parents, (see author's note) we took a proactive role and tried to talk with my daughter's school classes each year to explain her condition and help kids understand. It helped a bit because when someone stands in front of you, vulnerable, pleading for kindness by giving information with emotion usually people listen.
That's why books like this matter because it's a great way to open avenues of conversation with children about kindness and acceptance. Kids need to learn compassion. Adults too. This book also helps kids see that what you look like on the outside isn't who you are on the inside. Greatness comes from within. Beauty comes from within.
- I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
I was drawn in right away and really felt for Sophie, especially regarding the situation in the grocery store. And, reading that those words were what really happened to the author made it even worse.
There were several touching moments where the reader got to witness the best in people, and the worst in others (the bullies at school). It was eye opening to get a glimpse into one of the bully’s home lives to understand a little better about why he was probably acting the way he was.
The messages about kindness and how our actions, not our appearance, are what makes us a monster or not were wonderful.
I didn’t notice that the book said how old Sophie was. Some things made me think she was in middle school but then other things (like her very active imagination) made her seem younger. Her obsession with monsters actually became a bit much for me, but I think the intended audience would probably really enjoy that.
The story left things hanging a bit at the end, but enough is implied that it gives the reader a happy ending. It is definitely worth the read and one I'd like my kids to read.
I always love it when I find a book that I can enjoy as an adult, but that I can also enjoy with my kids. This one would be a perfect book for a parent to read to an elementary child. The plot will intrigue both.
Sophie in this book is a great character. I loved her imagination. Sophie has a mark on her face that kids have deemed a “monster mark.” This causes Sophie to think she is a monster. She found a monster book at one point that she carries around trying to determine just what kind of a monster everyone around her is. And this is really real to her.
I was kind of sad for Sophie, it’s hard not to be as a parent. Up to this point she’s never had a real friend. Watching her become best friends with Autumn and the joy that came from both of them to have a great friend in their corner was one of my favorite things about this book.
The author did a great job having this book feel as though the reader was back in school with Sophie. I could picture the way the school, teachers, principal and kids were. It made me sad just how the other kids treated Sophie, almost as though I were her.
And the story of Autumn’s little brother. So sad. I love the scene where Sophie learns what a monster really is. There are so many lessons that we can teach our kids from this one. They’re lessons that all the kids need to learn. How we treat others is so important.
Make sure you read this great book with your kids! I know I will be.
A Monster Like Me is a truly unique and charming book. This book is based on real life experiences from the author in fiction form.
Main character Sophie has a hemangioma on her face that makes her feel like a monster. Readers find out from the first that she feels she was cursed by a witch. Sophie retreats in her own world as she reads her book, The Big Book of Monsters. As she goes throughout her life she identifies the people around her as monsters and fairies. This is a coping mechanism for her as she deals with bullies at school and out in public. Sophie's single mom tries hard to bring her out of her shell but often doesn't know how to help her child. This book told from Sophie's child-like perspective deals with huge human issues of bullying, anxiety, and a deadly disease; but it also shows the beauty of friendship and acceptance and learning to love yourself despite what's going on inside or outside of ones self.
This novel would be a great book to read out-loud to children in the home where good discussions could take place. My other favorite characters were Autumn, Sophie's "fairy-like" friend, her grandmother the "good witch" Mrs. Barrett, and her mother's boyfriend Kelsi who taught her a lot about self acceptance. This book is a well written first novel by the author which is brimming with good messages. This novel is bound to teach many children about hard to talk about issues within the pages of a sweet story.