A Monster Like Me Synopsis:
There are trolls, goblins, and witches. Which kind of monster is Sophie?
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. Sophie can feel it pulsing with every beat of her heart. 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 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?
A Monster Like Me Review:
Being a kid is tough. Being a kid who is “different” is even harder. A Monster Like Me, based on events of author Wendy Swore’s own childhood, is a beautiful journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, told from a child’s point of view. The story begins with Sophie, our main character who is convinced that she is a monster. Sophie has a hemangioma, or blood tumor, that covers almost half her face.
This story is told from Sophie’s point of view, and it does a great job of showing us what it feels like to be a kid who is different. And who is trying to figure out how to cope with not only being different, but with all the other changes in her life. The changes include a new home, a new school, and life without dad. They also include a new friend and other new experiences.
We get to see Sophie’s struggle to handle all these changes, and how having some new friends in her life helps her to learn to see life from different perspectives. Sophie is a pretty typical kid (I want to say maybe a fourth- or fifth-grader, but I can’t remember whether I read that or that’s just how it felt). Some days she’s adorable and other days you’d want to put her in permanent time out. What that means is that the author did a great job of making a believable heroine—and the other characters feel true-to-life as well.
I liked this book, perhaps because I could relate to the story. I didn’t have a hemangioma or any other physical disfigurements as a child, but I was different enough. I was frequently ill, and was geeky and awkward and preferred my books to people. As a result, I endured my “share” of bullying and had to learn to like me as I was. After all, I’m still not sure I’ve outgrown that geeky and awkward phase.
This is an excellent book for reading with your family, not only because you’ll have the opportunity to talk about differences and bullying, but also because it teaches some important lessons about change, self-acceptance, trust and believing in oneself. The book also includes discussion questions to help guide you through the story.