Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

How I Heard About It:  This book came to me via #bookexpedition.  I didn't know anything about it, but I'm always up for reading up and coming novels for middle-grade readers.  I was thrilled when the book package arrived on Friday, I began reading Friday night, and was done by Saturday.  I could not put the book down.  

What It Is About:  Aven's life is pretty good.  Two loving adoptive parents, lots of friends, and no arms.  Yes, you heard me right.  Aven was born without arms.  She was given up for adoption and was lucky to find two of the most loving, caring, and special parents.  When her father loses his job and finds another one in Arizona, the three of them pick up and head off to the land of desserts.  Aven isn't thrilled about this, but puts her positive attitude and two "feet" forward and gives it her all.  When she starts school she realizes how difficult it is to be the new kid and especially the new kid without arms.  As she navigate her way around school, she meets Connor who is suffering from Tourette's Syndrome.  The two of them form a special friendship knowing how difficult it is to fit in.  They also include Zion who is an "outcast" because of his appearance.  As the three of them get to know each other, they find a room at Stagecoach Pass Theme Park where her parents are working.  In this room are "secrets" from the past that relate to the Stagecoach Pass and to Aven.  They work together to fit the "clues" together to fill in the "missing" pieces.  Aven, Connor, and Zion support, encourage, and rely on each other to find out who they truly are and what they are capable.  

What I Thought Of It:  This was my first summer book from my #bookexpedition group and what a book to start with.  Knowing nothing of the story, I was completely taken in by Aven, her parents, and of course her two newest friends.  There were so many laugh out loud and tears in the eyes moments sprinkled throughout the pages.  Aven, Connor, and Zion were three of the most lovable and memorable characters I have ever read about.  There were so many times as I was reading that I thought I wanted to personally know these kids and/or have them in my own class.  I also appreciated how the created two of the most awesome parents that supported their daughter no matter what and taught her she can reach the stars if she wants to.  I was just in awe of the writing and how real the characters, events, and relationships were.  I can not wait to share with incredible story with my fourth graders during the 2017/2018 school year.    

Who Should Read It:  All readers should experience the magic of this story.  I know every single one will LOVE it as much as I did.  It is the perfect novel to share with fourth, fifth, and sixth graders.  I'm thinking of doing it as a read aloud to my whole class, but may also use it for a "Breakfast with Books" book club selection.  There are so many incredible "life lessons" presented in the book that would provide for the most deep and profound discussions.  Of course if you are an adult that enjoys strong middle-grade novels, then this is definitely the book for you.  Look for it in September of 2017.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5+ STARS out of 5 Stars

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