Saturday, 3 April 2021

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (Book 13/52)

 On Tuesday I decided it was time to resurrect my weekly book recommendation - Tuesday's Treasures and shared about books by the author Beverley Cleary.  She was a Newberry Medal Winner, a Teachers Top 100 Book author for children and won the ALA Notable Children's book award. She wrote timeless, beautiful books.  For this weeks edition of 52 Books in 52 Weeks and in honour of her contribution to literature I decided to read the gorgeous hard cover edition of Dear Mr. Henshaw.

 Dear Mr. Henshaw

  • Format Paperback | 133 pages 
  • Dimensions 133 x 190 x 10.16mm | 91g 
  • Publisher HarperCollins Publishers Inc I
  • Language English 
  • Author Beverly Cleary
  • Illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky
  • ISBN10 0380709589 
  • ISBN13 9780380709588

From Book Depository - Beverly Cleary's timeless Newbery Medal-winning book explores difficult topics like divorce, insecurity, and bullying through the thoughts and emotions of a sixth-grade boy as he writes to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw.

After his parents separate, Leigh Botts moves to a new town with his mother. Struggling to make friends and deal with his anger toward his absent father, Leigh loses himself in a class assignment in which he must write to his favorite author. When Mr. Henshaw responds, the two form an unexpected friendship that will change Leigh's life forever.

From the beloved author of the Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse series comes an epistolary novel about how to navigate and heal from life's growing pains.

My Thoughts -  I was rather surprised by this little gem. Dear Mr. Henshaw is written entirley from the perspective of Leigh through letters (epistolary) to Mr. Henshaw.  

The books opens up with a letter when he is in second grade and writes his first letter to Mr. Henshaw. It progresses to Leigh's sixth grade year just after his parents seperate. Through his letters to Mr. Henshaw we learn about his concerns and inner conflicts. We walk alongside him as he struggles with being the new kid in school, his changing relationship with his father and a lunch box thief. 

The character development is realistic as Leigh struggles with divorce child blues, loneliness and flashes of inspirational wisdom on dealing with life in a more mature way (not catching the thief).  He learns that pursuing a dream is not always easy however pursuing it does have unexpected outcomes some times (when he enters a writing competition... that will be a spoiler you will need to read the book to find out what happened.)

I really enjoyed reading this story and think that young adults and tweens could benefit and grow in empathy towards others through reading Dear Mr. Henshaw. 

My Completed Reading list for 2021

  1. The Reading Life by C.S. Lewis
  2. Joseph Dreamer of Dreams by E. Traylor
  3. The Good Master by Kate Seredy
  4. The Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert 
  5. False Impression by Jeffrey Archer
  6. To Ride Pegasus by Anne McCaffrey
  7. Pegasus in Space by Anne McCaffrey
  8. The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey
  9. Damia by Anne McCaffrey
  10. Damia's Children by Anne McCaffrey
  11. Lyon's Pride & The Tower and the Hive  by Anne McCaffrey
  12. Siezure by Robin Cook 
  13. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Benerly Cleary

 What books do you recommend for tweens that are deeper and throughtful books?

Linking with Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks BW13

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