Posted by: kidsbooksreviews | April 29, 2008

Defiance, by Valerie Hobbs

In Defiance, a cow teaches a boy about living with cancer. Toby has discovered a new tumor growing on his side, and to avoid further treatment, he hides his condition from his parents. His neighbor, Pearl, has a cow nearing death, and by watching the cow’s battle, and Pearl’s own challenges, Toby learns to view his own condition in a new light.

This book is excellent for students who are struggling with death, illnesses, or aging. The narrative is very poetic, and poetry is another central theme (including a scene where Pearl lectures Toby on the proper way to read a poem). Despite this, the figurative language is clear and easily understood.

This book was a Mark Twain Award Nominee for 2007-2008, and is ideal for fourth grade or higher.

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