Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we saw the movie, The Invention of Hugo Cabret in the theater. The kids and I were captivated by this story and wanted to read the book by Brian Selznick. Though it wasn’t available at our local library but Selznick’s book Wonderstruck was. When we picked it up and flipped through the pages, we were immediately in awe. We had to read this book. When we returned home, it was clear that the best way to accomplish this was to read it together popcorn style or partner-reading, each sharing a page or two.
Wonderstruck is in fact two stories, set fifty years apart; one told through pictures and the other told through words. The first story is of Ben, a young boy in 1977 Minnesota who just lost his mother and sets out to look for his father. The second story follows Rose, a young girl from 1927 New Jersey who sets out to look for her idol, a movie star. Both children – deaf – are struggling to find what they are looking for in a world where hearing is normal and sometimes taken for granted. We marveled at the illustrations as Brian Selznick’s pictures tell an equally captivating story in amazing detail.
My favorite genre is historical fiction and Selznick’s book has quickly become one of my favorite because it not only tells an enjoyable story, but also gives us a glimpse into Deaf culture, a culture that I’ve never experienced, and opened my eyes to a different lifestyle. Those little glimpses into a world that I am not be familiar with are always my favorites. This story, though, also echos with the longing we all have to belong somewhere, to be a part of something. Wonderstruck is, at it’s core, a story of acceptance and community.
Shortly after reading Wonderstruck, we discovered a number of wonderful resources to integrate the book into our homeschool curriculum. We are excited to take part in numerous activities suggested and will share them with you soon. Until then, take a peak yourself and let us know if you undertake any yourself:
Teaching with Brian Selznick (including a virtual tour of the AMNH).
American Museum of Natural History