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Armstrong & Charlie

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  523 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Charlie isn’t looking forward to sixth grade. After all, if he starts sixth grade, chances are he’ll finish it. And when he does, he’ll be older than his older brother ever was. Armstrong isn’t looking forward to sixth grade, either. This year, he’ll have to wake up at 5:30 to ride a bus to an all-white school in the Hollywood Hills.

When Armstrong and Charlie are assigned
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  523 ratings  ·  161 reviews

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Ivonne Rovira
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
Although set 40 years ago, Armstrong and Charlie remains as relevant as yesterday’s police shooting of an unarmed black teen — or this morning’s borderline-racist Donald Trump tweet. Sure, the novel presents coming-of-age stories for two 12-year-olds: white Charlie Ross, the son of Jewish politically progressive parents, all of whom are still mourning the death of Charlie’s brother Andy a few months earlier, and black Armstrong Leroy, the hot-tempered son of a disabled veteran who left a leg in ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
"I'll just say it's a book that tells the truth." (p. 265)

This book is terrific—layered, well-written, and feels true.
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Y.A. readers and teachers, with adult guidance only
I thought this was great historical fiction! I was a child in the 70’s, so this book was a nostalgia trip in many ways for me. This is an era that is rarely written about.
But...* Red Flag Alert*
The cover art and print size make this appear to be for younger readers. Once inside, there are some pretty heavy issues about racism, adult depression, and school bullying. Very well written about, but much more appropriate for young adult aged readers.
I was surprised by some very mature language used fr
Ms. Yingling
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
ARC from publisher at ALA

It's 1975, and while some middle school problems are the same (weird teachers, school lunches, annoying parents), some are very different. Charlie lives in upscale Laurel Canyon, and right before 6th grade is to start, he finds out that many of his friends are going to other schools. The reason? Black children are going to be bused to Wonderland Avenue Elementary school. Charlie's mom doesn't have much of an opinion, because she is still reeling from Charlie's brother's
Liz Friend
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story: Armstrong is getting bused to a different school in LA in the fall of 1973. Charlie's always been there, and he doesn't know what to think of the black kids who are volunteering to come all the way across town. He also doesn't know what to think about Armstrong, who's kind of a Rebel while Charlie's more of a Rules Boy. Even so, as the kids get to know each other, they find out they're more alike than they could ever have guessed.

June Cleaver's ratings: Language PG-13; Violence PG; Se
Keep Calm Novel On
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
NetGalley provided a copy of the ePub in exchange for an honest review.

Steven B. Frank’s middle-grade novel Armstrong and Charlie is a powerful read with an important message. It is written for young readers but will certainly be enjoyed by all.

Armstrong and Charlie are beginning sixth grade in the 1970s. They live in Los Angeles and they are not familiar with each other’s world. Charlie lives a comfortable life but has experienced personal loss. Armstrong will be bussed to a white school away f
Michelle (FabBookReviews)

4.5 stars

Armstrong & Charlie, the middle grade debut of Steven B. Frank has already received high praise with a starred review from Kirkus. A fantastic historical novel with two protagonists you'll not forget, Armstrong & Charlie seamlessly combines serious heartache and humour to tell the story of two young boys who meet during school desegregation in 1970s California.

We meet Armstrong Le Rois and Charlie Ross as they set out to start sixth grade at a Los Angeles school called Wonderland. Both
Ashlee Tominey
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Middle grade historical fiction novel about two boys from very different neighborhoods in California in the 70s brought together by "opportunity busing".

Loved the character development and the budding friendships. A few uneasy moments as the boys try to figure out what kind of people they want to be. Plenty of laugh out loud moments.

My 3 year old picked it up from the New shelf at the library and handed it to me. Glad I stuck it in my bag and checked it out.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a remarkable story, much better than I anticipated. Once I began reading I found it difficult to put down. Having just begun my career as an educator in the early 70s, I can remember when busing began along with all the controversy.
Armstrong and Charlie is definitely a work of historical fiction. It has the ability to take you back to that point in time. From white wall tires to landlines and SRA reading cards. How they take me back. Even the music was representative of the time. I did find
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
1970's California. Armstrong's parents decide he should be bused to a "white" school where he can get a better education, and perhaps put some distance between him and his many sisters. Charlie's friends are going to different schools, and he is kind of adrift. The two basically spend much of the book competing against each other in many normal adolescent ways, which after a certain point, became irksome. Happily, they are supported by a strong group of well developed characters, particularly fa ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I obtained the audio edition of Steven B. Frank's "Armstrong & Charlie" from a Goodreads giveaway. Ruffin Prentiss, Christopher Gebauer, and Karen Chilton did an excellent job with the narration. I also enjoyed the historical/educational aspects of this story as I have learned that works such as this can encourage young readers to research and learn about the events that are depicted. Even as an adult, I can become intrigued by events mentioned in books and have researched them in order to learn ...more
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was phenomenal. For someone who doesn't read much in print, this book really hooked me. I didn't check it out the first day I started reading it at work, and I was thinking about it that evening and the mistake I had made. Checked it out next day. I would recommend this book to people who liked Because of Mr. Terupt to people who liked Revolution by Deborah Wiles. Plenty of it takes place in school and plenty takes place in a well-off and then in a poor, black neighborhood. I ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! I'm so happy I sometimes judge books by covers because this one sucked me in, and what it contained did not disappoint. Here's one of those books I'm lucky enough to grab before it makes it big, and I'm excited to see this one make it big. If it doesn't, it will be will be a sin. This author weaves a tale that at times could be "juggling too many balls," if you will, with so many different pieces to the plot, but he never lets any of them drop. What you get is a ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.

Yay! Thanks to Stephen B. Frank and Goodreads Giveaways I will be receiving a signed copy of this book! I can't wait to read it when it gets here!

Now that I have read this book, I am even more delighted that I now have a signed copy. This was a really well written book, set in the 1970's. There was a bit of a nostalgic factor for me that I'm sure influenced my opinion, as I was in 6th grade during that time as well.

The 2 titular characters were very well developed, and I cared about b
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book was fantastic. I loved it. It was right up my alley-- a mix between Remember the Titans and Wonder by Palacio (at least as far as family relationships go), and maybe a little bit like the movie Sandlot. Quite funny and sweet and sad.

Likes: The interactions between Charlie and Armstrong and each of them with their respective families was awesome. I loved it. I loved how much the secondary characters added to the narrative. It was just a very pleasant book to read.

Dislikes: None to ment
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this middle school buddy/coming of age book. Comedy, heart, tears, toughness and friendship, through some pretty extenuating circumstances (Armstrong is one of the first African American students to bused to an all white school in LA). There is a lot of growth in each of the main characters, who don't hit it off right away. This one is going on my Amazon list. ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, really enjoyed this. We see life for two 6th grade boys, one black and one white, during the 1970s. Armstrong is being bused to what used to be an all white school and Charlie has been attending the school yet most of his friends have left due to the integration. What begins as a tense, disdainful relationship, turns into something beautiful.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
" Unforgettable, well-drawn titular characters are the heart of this deeply moving and laugh-out-loud funny story about family, friendship, integrity, and navigating differences." (from Kirkus Reviews) ...more
Tricia Douglas
A new book just out this year intended for 10 years and up. The story takes place during the late seventies in Los Angeles when "opportunity busing" began in order to give children in lower economic areas a chance to attend school in more affluent area. Armstrong and Charlie are two such boys. They learn lessons of friendship and family and first loves. A well-written book which will open great discussions for classrooms. ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok, after I got over the fact that this book is labelled 'historical fiction' and it's about MY CHILDHOOD, I really enjoyed it. (smile) Set the LA area in the 1970s, the two boys named in the title meet when public schools become desegregated. Believable story lines and characters. Grades 5 and up. Just FYI - the kids play spin the bottle. ...more
Bethany Parker
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A strong 4.5. Wow, this book shook me. These characters are so well-developed and lovable, but incredibly realistic. Must-read.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because it reflected upon American history and segregation. Last year we did an entire unit about the Civil Rights Movement and that gave us a deep understanding about public protests. After reading this book I learned so much more about local protests and how children were affected by segregation. I also liked this book because it always kept me hooked in. I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to kids my age!
What a beautifully written book. Even though it takes place in the 1970s (and does a good job creating the sense of time period), it feels relevant to today - I think any modern kid could relate.
ALA ALSC Notable 2018
Heather Laskos
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book with my 10 year old and 14 year old and we loved hearing about Armstrong & Charlie's antics! I enjoyed the historical perspective of the mid-1970's and the social movements of the time - this book focusing on school busing between black and white neighborhoods in California. Armstrong and Charlie both learned that there are similarities that bind us together and differences that make us unique. Not only did they learn from each other, but also from each other's families.
We now
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful story about overcoming differences, dealing with loss, and the power of friendship.
Karen Arendt
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Armstrong and Charlie are amazing characters that will warm your hearts and remind you of what it is to be human. In the beginning of the story Armstrong is a bully, and understandably so. He believes ne needs to act tough to survive. Charlie is tring to have a good year after his friends all go to different schools to avoid the desegregation of Wonderland School. Both characters have loving, strict parents who help to shape both boys. There is much to be said in the book for kindness, understan ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free, giveaway

With race relations where they are today, it’s almost somewhat jarring to know that things haven’t changed much in over four decades. In an attempt to educate the next generation about racism, Steven B. Frank’s Armstrong and Charlie is an excellent start. While I would like to think that race relations have improved since the mid-1970’s, there are plenty of lessons available in this book that are applicable today. Still, racism can be a two-w
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aunt Meanie
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Armstrong & Charlie By: Steven B. Frank

This is an excellent book that will help children learn about the desegregation of public schools in the 1970s. The story is told from the alternating point of view of the book's 2 main characters, Charlie Ross and Armstrong Le Rois. Neither of the 2 boys are looking forward to the start of the new school year in 6th grade. Each boy has his own personal issues, fears and challenges.

The story is set in Los Angeles, CA in the mid 1970s. The 2 boys come from
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