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My Life as a Book
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My Life as a Book

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  2,244 ratings  ·  373 reviews
Summer’s finally here, and Derek Fallon is looking forward to pelting the UPS truck with water balloons, climbing onto the garage roof, and conducting sillyinvestigations. But when his parents decide to send him to Learning Camp, Derek’s dreams of fun come to an end. Ever since he’s been labeled a “reluctant reader,” his mom has pushed him to read “real” books—something ot...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published January 1st 2010)
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Smile by Raina TelgemeierThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian SelznickBone, Vol. 1 by Jeff SmithDiary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff KinneyAmulet, Vol. 1 by Kazu Kibuishi
Best Graphic Novels for Children
122nd out of 539 books — 637 voters
Mockingbird by Kathryn ErskineOut of My Mind by Sharon M. DraperHow I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life by Art CorriveauThe Mysterious Howling by Maryrose WoodBamboo People by Mitali Perkins
Maine Student Book Awards 2011-2012
15th out of 42 books — 15 voters

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Community Reviews

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Okay, so my son who is in 6th grade was assigned to read this book for English class. He struggles with reading, and he was sort of freaking out about reading the book and being able to discuss it with his group in Socratic circles because the kids tend to be unforgiving with each other for mistakes. I told him we would read it together, so we would take turns reading it each day, and when he made a mistake with a word I helped him. I really loved this book because the boy in the book hated read...more
The Styling Librarian
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian, cartoons by Jake Tashjian – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – I was simply thrilled to discover this book series. Thanks to The Nerdy Book Club, Janet Tashjian posted about her book creations and I learned quickly what I was missing. I had initially overlooked this series because I saw it displayed with Middle School book titles so I thought that it would be too mature for my students, I was quite wrong. I’m pleasantly surprised sometimes when I am wrong!...more
This book caught my interest as it is being compared to Jeff Kinney's books. My middle school son loves Greg Heffley, and so I was excited to win this through first reads. My Life as a Book has some similarities to the Wimpy Kid books, but it definitely has a more serious tone. The main character, Derek, is searching for answers to a mysterious drowning. He finds a newspaper clipping about it in the attic, and he discovers that his mother doesn't want him to know more.

One thing that I loved abou...more
I don't give up on many books. In fact, I think this might be the 3rd one ever. Yes, it's seriously that bad. Vetaran author Janet Tashjian is known for her, by all accounts, clever Gospel According to Larry series, but this effort for younger readers falls flat. Tashjian so obviously wants to mimic Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, but not only does she completely miss the mark with the humor, the drawings are atrociously bad and the marriage between the text and illustrations a shaky...more
My Life as a Book
Janet Tashjian
Genre: Humor

Derek Fallon absolutely hates to read. He will do anything to avoid reading fiction, nonfiction, you name it. If you count graphic novels like Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield, then that’s a whole different story. No pun intended.

Derek does not want to go to Learning Camp. But that’s exactly where his mother and father are sending him for the summer after he let the capuchin monkey out of the cage at his mother’s Veterinarian business. How did Derek know...more
Katie Kerns
My Life as a Book
By: Janet Tashjian

Derek is the main character of this realistic fiction novel. He is around 11 years old and he hates to read. His mom, teacher, and reading tutor are always making him read. Derek would rather read and draw comic books. He is a wild only child. Derek's mom is a vet and her office is next door to their house. He is always playing with the animals that are staying there; this includes a very friendly monkey. Derek's dad is a cartoonist and animator of movies. This...more
My Life As A Book, Janet Tashjian
This is a delightful, humorous tale of a boy’s coming of age. A mischievous 12 year old, who takes enormous pleasure in disobeying rules and having fun, has exhausted his parent's patience and is being sent to learning camp for the summer instead of being allowed to stay home and simply have fun. His efforts at these hilarious escapades sometimes backfire because some of his pranks are fun to him but could be dangerous to others. He tries to use a sun lamp to set...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
(Due out July 2010)

The enormous popularity of the *Wimpy Kid* series seems likely to produce a slew of imitations in the next couple of years, just as the Harry Potter books had every publisher looking for the next fantasy hit series. *My Life as a Book* looks at first glance a lot like *Wimpy Kid* - a similar kid-friendly font, stick-figure illustrations, and a narrator with a cocky and self-absorbed attitude. (The illustrations here are by the author's 14-year-old son, for various "vocabulary...more
Do you like to read? Do you like school? Well in this book Derek which is the main character of this book really dosent like to read or go to school all he likes to do is draw. The genre of this book is realistic fiction. My opinion of this book is I really enjoyed reading this book. I kind of felt sad in some parts of this story.

Where this story takes place is in summer. Derek wanted to find out who Susan James was from a newspaper he found in the attic but his mom wont tell him anything about...more
Sandra Stiles
As a Language ARts and Reading teacher, my number one goal has always been to get students who think they don't like to read, to discover they do like to read. Often it is because they have no say in what they read. Other times it is because it is too difficult for them.

Derek is like this, he likes to read but not what others think he should read. He has been given a summer reading assignment. He is doing everything he can to avoid it. He stumbles across an old trunk in the attic with a newspape...more
Andrew Lachappelle
Do you like a book that you can have a good laugh or even smile, well My Life as a Book is just for you. The main characters are Derek,Mom,Dad,Bodi,Grandma,Amy,Matt,and Carly.My favorite part in My Life as a Book was when Derek goes to Martha's Vineyard as they find out what actually happened to the girl in the news paper head lines. Also if you like mysteries then you will like My Life as a Book as much as i did.
I gave this book to my 9 year old grandson for Christmas. He loved it. After he had all of his gifts open he sat down and started reading it. He has aspergers and he loves to read. I didn't realize that this book was similar to The Wimpy Kids series. He showed me at the top of the book it mentions the Wimpy Kid books. The cover and title was what drew me to the book and I was pretty sure he would like it. He read it once and than started reading it again. He showed me there is another book like...more
Neala Arnold
Derek isn't a reluctant reader--he's a militant non-reader with ineffective parents who use Learning Camp as a punishment. I hated that the mother tries to bribe him to read and that both his parents and teacher refuse to validate the sort of reading he does enjoy--Calvin and Hobbes books. At least Calvin has an expansive vocabulary, fertile imagination, and a great deal of reflectiveness. Derek tries to be Calvin, but he's just destructive and impulsive and there don't seem to be many consequen...more
This book is about a kid that has a summer homework that has something to do with reading and found board so he decided to make his own book with his own adventure.
This book is very funny and it is interesting to read. This is highly recommended for all ages. This book is about a kid that has a summer homework that has something to do with reading and found board so he decided to make his own book with his own adventure.though it may be to hard for some grades that are in between kindergarten to...more
Carolyn Mcelravy
This is a good story for reluctant readers, although I think the author is too quick to explain everything. Even reluctant readers can infer some of the lessons included in the story. The main character relates the story of his summer from discovering a newspaper article about a girl who drowned to actually finishing one of the books on his summer reading list. Every reader can relate to at least one character in this narrative.

The writing is clean and authentic. It sounds like a 12-year-old boy...more
This was a cute book. It is not a book I would typically read but it is a book on the recommendation list for the Massachusetts Book Award and I thought I would give it a try.

Derek is a quirky 12 year old boy who likes to play practical jokes and hates anything to do with school. While in his attic one day he finds a newspaper article about a girl named Susan James who died on Martha's Vineyard. Derek becomes obsessed with finding out who this girl is and why his mother has the article in the at...more
"Ever since my teacher said I was a 'reluctant reader,' I spend every waking minute avoiding my mother and her latest idea of how I should use my time." With cartoony, stick-figure illustrations in the margins of nearly every page, the book will probably appeal to those looking for the next read after "Wimpy Kid." The sarcastic humor, told in first person present tense, makes the emotionalism of the story go down smoothly. Great description of how using your imagination (by visualizing) helps yo...more
Carolyn Arrington
This is a 2014-2015 Virginia Readers' Choice book for elementary grades.

Twelve year old Derek Fallon has received the label "reluctant reader." He does like to read but Calvin & Hobbes and Garfield are not what his teachers and parents have in mind. At the end of the school year Derek is assigned a reading list which hangs over his head the entire summer. One day Derek uncovers a newspaper article about a young woman, Susan James, who drowned at Martha's Vineyard ten years earlier. Derek's c...more
My Life as a Book is currently a 2014-2015 Maud Hart Lovelace nominee, which is why I read it. I also chose it because it has a Diary-of-a-Wimpy-Kid look and feel to it, and since Diary of a ... is so popular with readers I thought this might be too.

Main character, Derek Fallon, is on summer break and is looking forward to a summer of shenanigans with his best friend. His parents have other ideas and send him to "Learning Camp." Derek also has a summer reading requirement, something that annoys...more
Most parents bribe their kids with food in order to get them to go on the toilet. Derek's mom bribes him with candy in order to get him to read books, "two chocolate chips per page" to be exact. It's not that he doesn't love to read, he just prefers more pictures than words to be on a page in a book of HIS choice. Derek has millions of plans for summer and reading three required books isn't one of them. He'd rather spend his free time this summer on adventures with his friend Matt or solving th...more
Imagine you so happy its about to be summer and your having the same teacher next year, but at the last day of school your teacher tells you that you have too read three long stories and write a book review on it. How would you feel.I would think that the genre of this book is Realistic Fiction, because the events in the story sound like a real family that lived but mixed p their life a little bit.I think the story is good because because at some moments I felt what Derrick felt,and that I was...more
I really liked this book. Even though people say his vocabulary word drawings are really good, I think they are really bad. Its pretty much about this 12 year-old boy that doesn't like reading but likes drawing his vocabulary words instead. [See top paragraph.] He thinks he drowned his baby sitter when he was little, but he finds a loving secret about hid dog, Bodi. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a good laugh and mystery.
Clunkily didactic, with a main character too bratty to root for. This seems like the sort of book with a message that parents and teachers of reluctant readers would love, but as a children's librarian I have never had a kid actually ask for this book, which is telling. If you want to read a similarly themed book that doesn't beat you over the head with multiple morals, I recommend Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading.
Kristin Rosenberg
"'I was going to shave him with dad's electric razor,' I say. 'But I didn't. I used good judgement!'"

It's not that Derek is bad, it's just that impulse control is not one of his strongest areas. Neither is reading. He is quite familiar with the phrase "reluctant reader" and he does everything that he can to avoid reading things that are not in the same vein Calvin and Hobbes. When his mom realizes that staying home (essentially) unsupervised for the summer is not an option, she sends him to a f...more
In this very quick to read book about a 12 year old, he hates to read and obsesses over the death of a girl who supposed died while trying to save his life, a secret that his mother keeps hidden. This book is another Diary of a Wimpy Kid offshoot, that contains a non memorable main character, but a non
Luanne Hatcher
After the students devour the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, they start looking for something similar, especially the older reluctant readers. I think these kids will enjoy this book and want more of Derek. While Derek is supposed to be doing his required summer reading, he tries his hardest not to read. Upon discovering an old newspaper in the attic, an article begins a driving determination to find out about it, even to searching and reading on his own. His mom doesn't provide him with answers....more
Edward Sullivan
A reluctant reader discovers the importance of stories. The illustrations, layout, and narrative of this story are obviously a nod to the Winpy Kid series and fans of those books should enjoy this one.
Cassie Olds-benton
So it got 3 stars because I do believe that boys or girls that are not readers will connect with Derek and his struggles right away and read an entire chapter book! The cartoons on the side margins are great showing how they help with learning vocabulary words! Plus, in all his efforts to avoid the summer reading, Derek ends up getting to draw for something good! I would've given it 4 stars if Derek's ideas about fun, trying to set grass next to the house using a plugged in sun lamp for one. Or...more
Amanda Harrison
I was curious about the comic book style look of My Life as a Book. I was mostly not disappointed. I think that the Kirkus Review on the book probably says it best, "A Kinder, Gentler Wimpy Kid with all the fun and more plot." I would recommend this book to reluctant readers who wanted to feel some sympathy to a protagonist who was also a reluctant reader. The pictures on the side of the book to illustrate vocabulary words is quite interesting and a method that I would recommend to students who...more
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Janet Tashjian is a middle-grade and young adult novelist who’s been writing books for children for fifteen years. Her first novel Tru Confessions was made into a critically acclaimed Disney TV movie starring Clara Bryant and Shia LaBeouf. The Gospel According to Larry is a cult favorite and Fault Line is taught in many middle and high schools. Her novels My Life As a Book, My Life As a Stuntboy,...more
More about Janet Tashjian...
The Gospel According to Larry (Gospel According to Larry, #1) My Life as a Stuntboy Vote for Larry (Gospel According to Larry, #2) Fault Line Multiple Choice

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