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Mustaches for Maddie is book based on true events of the authors’ daughter Maddie, and how her love of mustaches helped her through it. Chad Morris and Shelly Brown write about issues their daughter faced and fought, all with a little bit of humor, and a lot of mustaches. The book deals with real-life issues that kids in upper-elementary face, and shows that even scary things can have a silver lining, or maybe a silver mustache…
I read to my children every. single. night. When they were toddlers, we read four books each night, including titles like Fancy Nancy, Pete the Cat and Goodnight Chicago. We had a routine, and reading books was the cornerstone. I’ve always loved reading and wanted to make sure my kids had that love too. Now that my daughter is in fourth grade, she reads more books than I sneak chocolate in the laundry room, which means that it’s hard to keep up. It’s nearly an impossible task to read a book with her, although we always have one going. She reads other books while waiting for our nightly chapter or two.
As the summer wound down, I was told to read Wonder with her. We started, but I read ahead to make sure I wasn’t caught off-guard with any questions she had. She mostly likes science fiction books, and still prefers fairies over elementary school situations and stories. She really liked Wonder, but alas, we found out that her class would be reading it as an assignment, so she stopped reading it to stay on the same page with her peers.
After reading Wonder, I received a review copy of Mustaches For Maddie. The book struck me as something my daughter would love from the moment I started reading the book. The main character Maddie has a very active imagination, leading to imaginary plots that show just how a child in fifth grade thinks, even if they don’t act it. The main character Maddie is caught in a social dilemma with a girl (Cassie) who is sorely lacking in esteem and feels the need to dominate her classmates at recess to feel better about herself. Maddie imagines bold ways to confront the girl, but ends up keeping quiet and doing what Cassie says instead.
In the book, Maddie faces her first fear by going out for a part in a play that Cassie wants. She feels her social life falling away from her as a result of this choice, but this first act is the beginning of Maddie standing up for herself and her friends, and making the right choice, even when hard.
Then Maddie is diagnosed with a medical issue that is pretty scary for anyone, let alone a fifth grader. She finds that she has more support than she realized when she sees her friends rally around her. She then uses her newfound “celebrity” status to change things at recess for the better, breaking the spell Cassie had on everyone. But she doesn’t stop there, Maddie’s courage grew so much that now everyone is included at recess, and they each have their own say in the games.
Mustaches For Maddie made my mama hormones come out in droves, and as I sobbed on my couch, or tried to hold back the tears at the park, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I wanted my daughter to read this. Since starting this article she’s started reading the book, (she’ll probably be done before you read this!) and also has questions, which is what I had hoped for all along. There are so many things that our kids think about or go through that we may never know because we forget to ask. I ask my kids about school every day, what they did at recess, what their favorite part of their day was, and if anything happened that made them sad. But this book gave me new questions to ask, different questions that I hadn’t thought of before, and I know it’s getting my daughter thinking about things that could happen at school.
This book can teach our children so much about respect, bullying, standing up for yourself (and others), not to mention how Maddie and her friends handled her diagnosis. It shows how a community can come together to make someone’s life a little happier when they’re facing something scary, and how a little mustache can go a long way to brightening someone’s day. I can’t recommend this book enough, get it now and read it with your child!
What books does your family read to help your children through tough moments at school?
Disclosure: The writer received an advance copy of Mustaches for Maddie to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are her own and no further compensation was received. Some links provided in this story are affiliate links. Little Lake County will earn a portion of sales made through these links to support the site. Thank you for clicking!