Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

A Mango-Shaped Space revolves around Mia Winchell, a 13-year-old girl for whom sounds, words, and numbers have specific colors and patterns. For example, her best friend Jenna's name is "a bright, shimmering shade of green with some yellow highlights" while her sister Beth's name is "the murky brown of swamp water." When she was young Mia assumed everyone experienced sounds, words, and numbers in color the way she did. However, a traumatic classroom experience in third grade made it clear that she was all alone in her view of the world. At that point she began keeping her colorful view of life a secret from her family, Jenna, everyone.

Failing grades at school force Mia to tell her parents the truth and seek help. Eventually she learns she has a type of synesthesia, a condition in which a person's five senses cross in different combinations. This leads Mia on a path of self acceptance that involves a interesting love interest or two and has a sweetly satisfying ending.

A Mango-Shaped Space, a Schneider Family Book Award Winner, is a great example of the overlap between fiction and nonfiction. The book allows readers to experience the real-world condition of synesthesia and Mia's fictional life...double bonus!

Recommended to upper elementary students.

By Mrs. N.

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