Fefa struggles with words. She has word blindness, or dyslexia, and the doctor says she will never read or write. Every time she tries, the letters jumble and spill off the page, leaping and hopping away like bullfrogs. How will she ever understand them?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.
Based on the life of the author's grandmother, Engle's (Hurricane Dancers) novel-in-verse is told in the voice of Josefa, an 11-year-old living in the Cuban countryside in the early 20th century, following the war for independence from Spain and U.S. occupation of the island. It's a turbulent time, with roaming bandits kidnapping children for ransom, but Fefa (as she's called) is preoccupied with her "word blindness," what is now called dyslexia. To help Fefa overcome her struggle to read and write, her poetry-loving mother gives her the wild book of the title, a blank book in which Fefa can practice "taming" the letters and words that seem to wriggle away as she tries to read them. "Throw wildflower seeds/ all over each page," her mother suggests. "Let the words sprout/ like seedlings,/ then relax and watch/ as your wild diary/ grows." Fefa persists until her disability is under control, but the denouement, in which a poem written by an unwelcome suitor saves Fefa's family from harm, feels contrived. Engle's writing is customarily lovely, but the plot is too thin to leave much of an impression. Ages 10 14.
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Oh my gosh this book is so good! Did she write any more books clause if she did I would totally buy it! 😍😍😍😍😘