What would it be like to start over? What if you were a bully extraordinaire and everyone was scared to face you in the school hall? What if you wereWhat would it be like to start over? What if you were a bully extraordinaire and everyone was scared to face you in the school hall? What if you were a talented football star who suddenly is forced to stand on the sidelines and watch your friends play without you? All this, and MORE happens to Chase Ambrose.
During one of his outrageous escapades, he falls off the roof of his house and suffers injuries. In time, his physical injuries will heal, but most distressing is his Acute Retro-Grade Amnesia. He cannot remember anything or anybody that was part of his previous 13 years. He doesn't even remember his family! As he prepares to go back to school for the start of 8th grade, snippets of flash-backing memory slowly creep into his brain. It's distressing, though, because he cannot make sense of them. The kids at school avoid him, except for his friends, Aaron and Bear...and, yet they seem to be bullies. Now, Chase wants nothing to do with their vindictiveness and hatred. He tries to reach out to others in the school, but how can they possibly forget what Chase has done to them in the past?
Eventually the video club embraces him but some members are still wary. Chase tries to apologize and let his new-found kindess shine through, but as with all hurtfulness , it takes time to alleviate the effects.
Will his memory ever come back? And, how will he handle the realization of his wrong-doings? Will others accept his new persona? Restart is begging to be read as a group, especially as a read-aloud, since discussion about bullies and their hate will surely need to be addressed. This book speaks to the power of forgiveness, kindness, criminal acts, and retribution. A lesson can be learned from this....can restarting one's life erase the past? Maybe, maybe not, but how does one move forward and how do others get passed the hurt inflicted? A powerful book for those who appreciated the message in books such as Touching Spirit Bear and Leverage....more
Let's face it: Rafe Khatchadorian's track record has not been exactly stellar when it comes to staying out of trouble in school. The principal knows hLet's face it: Rafe Khatchadorian's track record has not been exactly stellar when it comes to staying out of trouble in school. The principal knows him and knows him well. But, when an art contest pops up and has a mighty fine prize attached to it, Rafe knows it is right up his alley. After all, he is a talented artist.
He enters, he wins, he is on his way to an all-expense paid trip to Australia! It can't get any better than this, right? Well, this is Rafe we are talking about, and of course it can. His mother (yikes!) is going to tag along with him and upon arriving in the land down under, he is met with some beach-bum bullies. And...of course, he is staying with them. Yikes, again!
Middle School: Escape to Australia is full of laugh-out-loud antics and dialogue. A quick, easy read to keep even the most reluctant reader engaged. Rafe is a lovable loser who just seems to have trouble follow him wherever he goes. ...more
A compact story with profound questions. When someone is so different from us on the outside, does it make them any different from us on the inside? JA compact story with profound questions. When someone is so different from us on the outside, does it make them any different from us on the inside? Jessica has been hideously deformed by a car fire...making her appearance both frightening and unsettling to the classmates at her new school. And, while this disruption is unusual, the reactions from the students varies remarkably. Jeff is both cruel and bullying, Courtney sympathizes (we think), but doesn't have the courage to reach out, and Tom feels only empathy and understanding.
These differences drive an invisible wedge between the classmates, especially those that considered themselves friends. And, while Jessica only stays at their school for a short time, her impact was huge. Our true character is revealed in the face of kindness and compassion towards those of us who are different in some way.
Firegirl is a great, short book for discussion and reflections....more
Ethan and Julius, best friends since 2nd grade, feel they are losers at everything...school work, sports, and sometimes even friendship. They've decidEthan and Julius, best friends since 2nd grade, feel they are losers at everything...school work, sports, and sometimes even friendship. They've decided to form a club and call it Losers, Inc.. But when a student teacher comes into their lives and takes over science class for 5 weeks, they both become infatuated with her. Both of the boys want to impress her in their own way...Ethan quietly and subtlety and Julius, boisterously and demonstratively.
Ethan starts to take his schoolwork to heart and does well in all of his classes, but never really lives up to the spectacular work his older brother, Peter, completes. Ethan desperately wants to impress the new teacher, but in the mix of it all, he does something that hurts a fellow classmate. He feel bad about it and finally decides to take ownership of his wrongdoing. So...is he still a loser? Probably something he will have to decide for himself and he'll have to make a wrong a right.
Losers, Inc. is very simplistic in its approach, is outdated for today's kids, and has little meaningful character development. I'm happy recent Caudill nominees have more substance and thought-provoking plots....more
In Mississippi in the early part of the 1900s, times were not easy for blacks trying their best to make a living from the land. But, the hatred and prIn Mississippi in the early part of the 1900s, times were not easy for blacks trying their best to make a living from the land. But, the hatred and prejudice that simmered between black and white people was palpable and fraught with danger.
David, a young boy, is witness to his older brother, Hammer's attack on a white boy and he knows that trouble is coming for the whole family. They are both whipped for their part in the fray. Part of the punishment includes working from dawn to dust, for free, on the white man's land.
Yet, during this summer's drought, David's family's farm has the only well with usable water. Their generosity to share, even when unjustly accused, is remarkable. Justice comes slowly and without any fanfare, but there are miles to go before neighbors are equal. The Well is an eye-opening story about race relations in the early part of the 20th century....more