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Kid Konnection: Discovering Wes Moore

July 27, 2013

Discovering Wes Moore

Wes Moore was born in a tough Baltimore neighborhood to loving parents.  His father passed away when Wes was young and after struggling to get by, Wes, his mother, and his siblings moved to the Bronx to live with his mother’s parents.  When Wes started getting into trouble his mother threatened him with military school but he figured she’d never send him away so he didn’t change his behavior.  It turns out he was wrong – his mother did indeed send him away to military school.

While he was in military school, Wes’s mother and siblings moved back to Baltimore.  Military school was a good thing for Wes – he straightened himself out and eventually went to Johns Hopkins University and became a Rhodes Scholar.  While he was studying abroad, his mother told him that the police wanted someone named Wes Moore for robbery and murder.  Wes became intrigued by this story and eventually befriended the other Wes Moore.  He wondered how two young men from seemingly similar backgrounds could grow up so differently.

Several years ago, Wes Moore wrote The Other Wes Moore, an adult book about the two Wes Moores.  His newest book, Discovering Wes Moore is a young adult version of their story.  He says,

Wes agreed to share his experiences in this book so that others could learn from his story and choose a different way.  I wanted to tell my own story for a similar reason.  I hope that by reading this you can learn from both our failures and our successes.

I found this book to be fascinating and compelling.  I admired Wes’s mother’s attitude – she stressed education and didn’t accept excuses.  She never took the easy way out and set high expectations for herself and her children.  I also admired Wes’s attitude.  Rather than deny his mistakes, he admits them and learns from them.  He wrote to the other Wes Moore out of curiosity and befriended him out of compassion, never intending to write a book.

Young readers can learn a lot from Discovering Wes Moore.  It’s full of life lessons and does get a little preachy a time or two but, overall, it delivers a powerful message.

Through my own experiences, I’ve become convinced that you have the potential to control your own life, even if the odds are against you.

My only fear is that the young people who really need to hear that message can’t or won’t be reading this book.  I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

I listened to the audio version of this book which is narrated by the author.  I’ve found that author narrations can be hit or miss, but I’m pleased to say Moore does an excellent job – his passion comes through, and he even does a great job with accents.  The audio is on 4 CDs and lasts approximately 4 hours.

kid konnection newFor more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2013 6:45 am

    It kind of reminds me when I used to do research to find people and you’d think some name was pretty unique and 80 gazillion hits would turn up! Or if you look for your own name on facebook or something you find so many others. Kind of freaky!

  2. July 27, 2013 6:49 am

    It’s amazing what a big difference opportunities and attitudes can make in a child’s life. I’m reminded of A Hope of the Unseen — also a fantastic book.

  3. July 27, 2013 10:43 am

    Hopefully libraries around the country see this book and buy it. Maybe then the kids who really need to read this book will.

  4. July 27, 2013 12:10 pm

    I’ve heard of the story of the two Wes Moore’s… from a sermon in a church. Indeed, t’s a truly inspirational real life testimony. Thanks for sharing!

  5. July 27, 2013 1:39 pm

    Great review, Kathy! This book sounds quite inspirational.

  6. July 27, 2013 2:40 pm

    I can think of a few teens I’d love to give this book to ~ thank you for sharing what could be a great resource for anyone working with teens! And what a cool story too! Coincidence? It’s so unbelievable yet true-to-life!

  7. Patty permalink
    July 27, 2013 5:01 pm

    This is amazing and I am sad that I knew nothing about him. Thank you!

  8. July 28, 2013 9:37 am

    I heard about this story on NPR about a year or so ago when the adult book came out, ordered the book for our school library and it isn’t getting a lot of use. What age group is this book aimed at? Perhaps it would be a good version for me to get for my high school.

  9. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    July 28, 2013 4:09 pm

    I remember seeing this story on Oprah (I think). Sounds like a book that just might open some eyes!

  10. July 29, 2013 11:52 pm

    I think it’s cool that he wrote and adult and kids book. The kids who need it may never read it, but there will be a few who find it and will hopefully be inspired. Great review!

  11. bookingmama permalink
    July 30, 2013 3:11 pm

    What a wonderful sounding coming-of-age story, especially since it’s true!

  12. August 2, 2013 1:00 pm

    Looks like an inspirational tale.Thanks for the excellent review.

  13. August 5, 2013 10:11 pm

    Wow! I hadn’t heard of this at all before now. I think it’s really cool that he wrote both an adult and a kid version. What’s the youngest age you’d recommend this one for? Thanks for sharing it at Booknificent Thursday!

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