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But her mother has an idea. She gives Fefa a blank book filled with clean white pages. "Think of it as a garden," she says. Soon Fefa starts to sprinkle words across the pages of her wild book. She lets her words sprout like seedlings, ...
But her mother has an idea. She gives Fefa a blank book filled with clean white pages. "Think of it as a garden," she says. Soon Fefa starts to sprinkle words across the pages of her wild book. She lets her words sprout like seedlings, shaky at first, then growing stronger and surer with each new day. And when her family is threatened, it is what Fefa has learned from her wild book that saves them.
A Kirkus Best Children's Book of 2012
A Bank Street College of Education Best Book
* "A beautiful tale of perseverance."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Readers will be enchanted."—VOYA
"[A] lyrical glimpse of early twentieth-century Cuba."—Booklist
"Engle’s writing is customarily lovely."—Publishers Weekly
"[A] remarkable, intimate depiction of Fefa's struggle with dyslexia; Engle is masterful at using words to evoke this difficulty, and even those readers unfamiliar with the condition will understand its meaning through her rich use of imagery and detail."—Bulletin
"The idea of a wild book on which to let her words sprout is one that should speak to those with reading difficulties and to aspiring poets as well."—School Library Journal
The doctor hisses it like a curse.
he repeats—some children can see everything except words.
They are only blind on paper.
Fefa will never be able to read, or write,
or be happy in school.
It sounds like an evil wizard’s prophecy, dangerous and dreadful,
but Mamá does not listen to the serpent voice of the hissing doctor.
She climbs in the wagon,
clucks to the horse,
and carries us home to our beautiful green farm,
where she tells me to follow the good example of Santa Mónica,
patron saint of patience.
Mamá murmurs with a suffering sigh—who ever heard of such an impossible burden?
She refuses to accept the hissing doctor’s verdict.
Seeds of learning grow slowly,
she assures me.
Then she lights a tall,
and gives me a book.
I grow anxious.
I pretend that my eyes hurt.
I pretend that my head hurts,
and pretty soon it is true.
I know that the words want to trick me.
The letters will jumble and spill off the page,
leaping and hopping,
jumping far away,
like slimy bullfrogs.
Think of this little book as a garden,
She says it so calmly that I promise I will try.
Throw wildflower seeds all over each page, she advises.
Let the words sprout like seedlings,
then relax and watch as your wild diary grows.
I open the book.
The pages are white!
Is this really a blank diary,
or just an ordinary schoolbook filled with frog-slippery tricky letters that know how to leap and escape?
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