About the book: Larger-Than-Life-Lara

About the author: Dandi Daley Mackall

Larger-Than-Life Lara is narrated by a ten year old girl named Lani. Lani writes her story by practicing the writing skills that her teacher has taught her. The story is about an overweight girl (Lara) who is bullied by nearly every student in the fourth grade class. Rather than becoming hurt and angry Lara responds with an encouraging rhyme. Her response only angers some of the students which leads to a major prank during a very important part of the story.

I loved the story. It was written well. Since bullying remains to be a problem among young (and old people), it was refreshing to read an encouraging story. On one occasion I was moved by the attitude of the narrator Lani. She writes, “I knew that people like Maddie Simpson had to be careful who they sit themselves next to. Their reputations are at stake. And I almost understood why Maddie, in all the five years we went to school together, had never once sat herself next to me. What I hadn’t figured on before right then was that a person like me had to think about this same thing. And I didn’t like that feeling. But that was the way it is.” (p. 83) Lani’s own life is a bit of a tragedy. Her mother left when she was little.  Lani and her brothers are being raised by an alcoholic father, and throughout the story the family experiences conflict. We can often be hypocritical; we don’t like it when we are judged, mocked or made fun of, and then we turn around and hurt others.

The story was great, but more important principles reside within the story. The narrator teachers the reader how to write a story. Characterization and character development are explained. Setting, dialogue, conflict, transition, details, and much more about writing a story is explained by Lani. The young fourth grade class must evaluate bullying, and work through ethical situations. This would be an excellent book for teachers to read in class. As Lani is narrating the story she puts into practice and explains all of the important concepts that her teacher taught her about developing a story.

In exchange for an honest review Tyndale Blog Network provided me a copy of Larger-Than-Life Lara. I have written an honest review.