Done! I just finished my blurb for a book on the shortlist for the Cybil’s. It was a fantastic reading season. I read more this year then last. There were many great books and some not so good. It was an interesting list. It leaned older middle grade, boy and white. To get it out of the way the books I will blog about from the Cybil’s list express just MY views and not the fabulous Middle Grade category.
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian was one of the boy books. (Since this is The Boy Reader it fits nicely into this blog.) It is a great book, so I ordered it for my classroom. (The copy I read came from the library.) I have a list of boys that will enjoy reading this book. Derek Fallon is a typical 12 year old looking forward to a fun summer until he ends up at Learning Camp. Derek is labeled a “reluctant reader” by his teacher, but as he says “I like to read. If everyone just left me alone with Calvin, Hobbes, Garfield, …”. Does he remind you of anyone you know? At the beginning of the book Derek finds a ten year old newspaper article about a girl that drowned. His mom refuses to discuss the article. Note to Moms when asked about something mysterious avoidance just leads to no good! Derek spends many hours trying to find out the answers to his questions. At one point he spent an hour READING on- line, but is afraid he will get in trouble because he wasn’t READING.
I enjoyed this book because Derek is a fun, lovable, and determined kid. The book is filled with little, fun illustrations (done by Jake Tashjian the author’s son) of vocabulary words. A strategy Derek is supposed to use to help him remember his words. I liked how Derek solved the mystery and to be honest I didn’t see the twist coming at the end.
Even though Derek is twelve I would say this is a third and fourth grade level book. A struggling or “reluctant” fifth grade would easily enjoy it as well.