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My Life as a Book (The My Life series) Hardcover – July 6, 2010


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My Life as a Book (The My Life series) + My Life as a Stuntboy (The My Life series) + My Life as a Cartoonist (The My Life series)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Series: The My Life series
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805089039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805089035
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7–Twelve-year-old Derek has been identified as a reluctant reader. He likes to read, but doesn't enjoy required materials. He says he prefers having his own adventures (tossing as hand grenades the avocados his mother is saving for dinner, climbing onto the roof with a croquet set to hit wooden balls into the satellite dish) to learning about someone else's life. When his teacher gives the class summer reading and writing assignments, Derek finds a way to distract himself from the task. He discovers an old newspaper clipping about a 17-year-old who drowned, and his mother explains that the teen was babysitting him at the time and died saving him. Derek is determined to learn more about her death and his involvement in it. The margins of this book feature vocabulary words illustrated with cartoons. The protagonist is by turns likable and irritating, but always interesting. He is sure to engage fans of Jeff Kinney's “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books (Abrams) as well as those looking for a spunky, contemporary boy with a mystery to solve. Reluctant readers will appreciate the book's large print and quick-paced story.Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Twelve-year-old Derek is not a reader. His assignment to read three books over the summer stinks. But then something that he wants to read catches Derek’s eye. In the attic, he finds a 10-year-old article about a teenage girl who drowned on a Martha’s Vineyard beach. When he questions his mother about the article, her nervousness tells him something’s up, so he takes on the assignment of discovering what happened on the beach that day and why it’s important. Janet Tashjian, known for her young adult books, offers a novel that’s part Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007),part intriguing mystery; yet the best element here is really the first-person voice, which captures so completely the pushes and pulls in the life of someone with learning disabilities. Derek is brash, careless, and usually willing to do something stupid. He is also bright, a talented artist, and smart enough to know when he has gone too far. Adding to the book’s effectiveness is a generous typeface that looks like printing and artwork by the author’s 14-year-old son, Jake. Like the story’s narrator, he uses stick figures to illustrate vocabulary words, and here they march down the margins. Some are simple depictions, like a handful of flowers for the word bouquet. Some take more thought: a sad face moving to a happier one for adapt. Give this to kids who think they don’t like reading. It might change their minds. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper

More About the Author

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, and My Life As a Cartoonist are all illustrated by her teenage son, Jake. Their collaboration continues with Einstein the Class Hamster coming in August.

Janet lives with her family in Los Angeles, enjoying her respite from the long Boston winters. When she isn't writing, she's rewriting.

Janet has been doing school visits for fifteen years; you can email her at spatulaproductions@mac.com for details.

We invite you to follow her on Twitter @JanetTashjian and like her books on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Life-As-A-BookMy-Life-As-A-Stuntboy/133223746711839?fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/ForWhatItsWorthTheBook

Plus, check out her YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/janettashjian

Customer Reviews

It was a fun book to read.
kellice
Not only is there action, comedy and mystery, there are also fun illustrations sprinkled throughout.
KidsReads
I gave it a 5 star rating for a REASON, It's the best book I have read so far.
Evelyn achtelik

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sheila Gallagher on July 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As Derek tries to get out of reading both in school and during the summer, it is reading that gets him into his greatest trouble. Discovering an old newspaper in the attic Derek questions his mother about it but she will not answer him. Deciding that she is hiding something Derek makes it his mission to find out who Susan James is. When he finds out his best friend Matt is going to Martha's Vineyard Derek tries to go along since that is where Susan James died. Derek figures that's a good place to start investigating the death. His plans are thwarted. He manages to drive his parents crazy so he gets sent to Learning Camp for the summer. Turns out the teacher's pet, Carly, is also there. How much worse can his summer get! Well, he's about to find out.

I loved My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian. It is funny, sad, and not what I expected. As Derek struggles to do his reading, he draws pictures of the words he doesn't know. In the margins of the book Janet Tashjian's son, Jake, does the same. The pictures enhance the book. Fantastic!

As Derek persists in following the mystery of the newspaper article his mother finally breaks down and tells him that Susan James was his babysitter when they were at Martha's Vineyard and died saving him from drowning. This still does not settle Derek. He wants to know more about her. Using the internet he discovers a website for her. People leave messages on it and he does too. Susan's mother responds to it. Derek knows not to let his parents know about the contact.

Eventually though he needs to learn more about Susan. He convinces (nags) his parents into visiting his grandmother in Boston. They go and revisit the beach at Martha's Vineyard.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sandra K. Stiles on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 newspaper article about a girl drowning at Martha's Vineyard. When he asks his mom about it she brushes the topic aside. Derek won't let it go until he finds out the absolute truth. Along the way to the truth he learns some tricks that will help him along the path to reading. I loved the way the book was set up and the little tips and tricks in there. I know a lot of reluctant readers who will really enjoy this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah A. Johnson on November 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story is great, and I loved reading it. The reason I gave it a 3 is because the Kindle version had some major issues. You could only read it in landscape mode and on every page it had words that were missing letters. It was like someone whited out half of 3 or 4 words on each page. The Kindle version needs some work, but the book is great!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alisa on February 12, 2014
Format: Paperback
Warning - yes kids will like it, but know what they are reading - this is crazy! I gave it one star, but that's because there wasn't an option for zero! I am so glad I sat down to listen to a couple chapters of what my son was reading aloud - boys throwing bags of potting soil, then taking avocados from the kitchen, which were supposed to be part of dinner and throwing them at one another, pointing a sun lamp toward the lawn to intentionally try to start a fire, climbing on the roof and throwing things at the TV dish, as the parents meekly ask him to come down, then the dad gives up and goes in when he doesn't comply - and this was barely into the book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary C. Mcgrath on December 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
my son read this book in a few days and could not put it down. he's 9 and reads on and slightly above grade level. he's a hard one to please with finding books, but THIS book and those by this author were total entertainment. the pictures are fun. the notes and doodles are fun. the book is just a good, fun book for 9 year old boy in the 4th grade!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Covington on March 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is is going to be compared over and over to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and it doesn't live up to that comparison. The margins are filled with doodles that are explained as Derek's illustrations to help him remember the definitions of his summer vocabulary words. If the illustrations also related to the story, I think they would add to the book. As they stood, I mostly ignored them, since they had little to nothing to do with the plot. I liked the fact that the illustrations were done by Tashjian's 14-year old son and the vocabulary idea is a good one for students to carry over into their own lives. As to the plot, there is a little mystery, very little adventure, a little humor, and lots of unresolved storylines, but kids will probably enjoy it. Overall, I will probably have students who read this one and like it well enough, but I don't know that they will love it. As far as recommendations, I will recommend The Strange Case of Origami Yoda over this one to Wimpy Kid lovers.
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Format: Hardcover
"If my life were a book, I'd have my own cool adventures instead of reading about someone else's. If I were the main character in an exciting story rather than some kid who has to sit around and READ all day, I'd spend the summer trying to find out how that girl in the newspaper ended up dead."

The days are ticking down towards summer break, and all Derek Fallon can think about is the fun he's going to have this summer. Summer means wasting away the afternoon having incredible adventures, playing croquet on the roof, and being a kid. The last thing on Derek's mind is plowing through a summer reading list. In fact, ever since being labeled a "reluctant reader," Derek has done all he can to avoid reading. The only thing he really enjoys is drawing his vocabulary words, which helps him understand what he's reading better. That's the furthest thing on his mind, though, with summer break starting.

Summer starts off well enough. Derek and his best friend, Matt, manage to have enough fun without getting into too much trouble. Besides the usual ruckus of playing James Bond at a local video store, Derek also stumbles upon an unusual mystery. Hidden in his attic is an old newspaper article about a teenage girl found dead on a beach in Martha's Vineyard. When he confronts his mother, she brushes the topic aside, but he is determined to figure out why she won't tell him anything. Just when the summer is getting interesting, Derek is dealt two setbacks: Matt is going on vacation, and Derek's parents decide he is going to learning camp.

At first, learning camp is exactly what Derek expected --- horrible. He spends his time doing multiplication tables and trying to be interested. It doesn't help that the former teacher's pet, Carly, also happens to be there and loves learning.
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