9/24/2015 ** Given the buzz I've heard from educators I respect about this book, I expected to feel a punch in the gut. I thoroughly respect the message, but I wasn't especially struck by lyrical prose.
At first glance, I felt this was simply an homage to teachers, and that the primary audience would be teachers. However, I think many kids would connect with the feelings of alienation conveyed by the protagonist. Though not all kids struggle with reading, many feel that they don't fit it - because they don't do sports, or feel geeky, or don't have the right clothes.
As a read-aloud, this book could be the flint that sparks important conversations about kindness, acceptance, and celebrating everyone's ability to think outside society's boxes.
Read-alike books might by Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper or Wonder by R.J. Palacio.