A Mango Shaped Space, by Wendy Mass

Have you ever felt like a freak? Are you someone with a secret you have to keep inside because if people knew they would not like you, or think you were crazy?

The story is told in the first person, Mia is a middle school girl who sees colors for numbers and letters. At first she thought everyone could do this. In third grade, she finds out this is not true and is humiliated by her teacher while doing a math problem at the board. She tries to tell her parents but they don’t believe her.

Her beloved grandfather dies and she finds a tiny mango colored cat near his grave. The shape of his eyes remind her of her grandfather’s eyes. When he breathes, little mango colored puffs come out of his mouth. He always sleeps on the end of her bed on an old Winnie the Pooh blanket.

She finally discovers she is a synesthete, someone who when stimulus is applied in one modality through hearing, seeing or tasting, for example, it manifests in another modality, such as tasting colors. It is not a disease or disorder. As her younger brother says, defending her, it is a gift.

This is a wonderful book about growing up, dealing with personal loss, and accepting one’s uniqueness. Have your box of tissues handy.


About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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