Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Monster Calls

by Patrick Ness
inspirational idea Siobhan Dowd

I've read a string of different but fun books the past few weeks.

The first was A Monster Calls which is an elementary grade story about facing death. What's fun about death? Having a monster who navigates you through the pain both physical and emotional. That is what happens for Conor O'Malley as he lives with the stress of his mother dying of cancer and dealing with his future prospects for life without her. Conor is thirteen and lives with his single mother. His father has remarried, moved across the ocean and doesn't have much interest in maintaining a connection with his son. His grandmother is prim and stern and doesn't know what to do with a rowdy boy. And Conor is angry with all of them: his mother, his friends, his teachers and himself.

That is when the nightmares begin and the monster comes calling. The tree monster provides Conor with explanations for his actions and emotions that free him from guilt for his seemingly selfish thinking. While this story is mostly sad, there are many life lessons presented, which would be great springboards for discussion with your kids. But even us more mature people benefit. Read it with your kleenex nearby.

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