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The Normal Kid (Fiction - Middle Grade) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Sylvan has been angry ever since his parents split up. And now that an embarrassing photo has appeared in the paper, he's stuck with a lame nickname too. Charity is back in the United States after several years in Africa. And she's learning that home can be a strange place when you've been away for a while. Neither of them knows what's up with Brian. He spends whole afternoons alone on his trampoline. From the first day of school, Sylvan knows he doesn't want to hang out with weirdoes like Charity or Brian. He'd rather just be a normal kid. But when the principal gets ready to fire their favorite teacher, Sylvan, Charity, and Brian have to find a way to work together.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-On the first day of fifth grade, two new kids walk into Sylvan's class and he thinks that they are both weird. Charity, having just returned from several years in Kenya, earns the nickname Preacher Girl for her religious upbringing and odd questions. Brian, known as the Trampoline Kid, behaves strangely, often making loud noises and constantly fidgeting. Sylvan, who beat up a fellow classmate last term, wants nothing more than to be considered normal. His mother, a social activist, doesn't make it easy for him, making him join her causes and picket lines. Then he's forced to socialize with Charity when their mothers become friends, and his teacher, Mr. In, pairs him with Brian for a social-studies class project. Intrigued by Charity's vibrant and complex past and youthful enough to want to join Brian on his trampoline, Sylvan empathizes and matures alongside these two different but good classmates. When the children think that their beloved teacher's position is in jeopardy, they bring their classmates together in an effort to save it. Sylvan and Charity take turns narrating, and readers will understand and relate to the social pressure they struggle to navigate and their desire to fit in.-Nicole Politi, The Ocean County Library, Lavallette, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Fifth-grader Sylvan is a self-described normal kid, while his classmate Charity has just arrived at school after five years of living in Kenya, where her parents were missionaries. Also new at school is a boy who exhibits Asperger’s symptoms, which inhibit his interpersonal interactions. Told in the voices of Sylvan and Charity, this novel offers a well-balanced look at two kids who are realizing how events affect individuals—and how they themselves are affected deeply by events they want to ignore. Without ever feeling overstretched, the story packs in a lot about what it’s like to have an activist mom or an embittered former-preacher dad; how an excellent teacher can still lose students; and the dramatic impact that’s possible when a bunch of 10-year-olds put the group’s interests ahead of their own personal concerns. Fans of school stories by Gary Schmidt or Jerry Spinelli will find this engaging as well as thought provoking. Grades 5-7. --Francisca Goldsmith

Product Details

  • File Size: 1528 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (August 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008TW3JUY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,943 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sylvan was going to be in the fifth grade at Henderson Elementary and because of his mom Lila's activism he had a new nickname. Everyone had seen that corny picture of him in the newspaper with that "dumb grin and a couple of old hippies" behind him. Seemed like every time there was a cause she made him hold a sign. "Tree boy" considered himself perfectly normal, but there were a couple of kids who were ... well, just kind of weird. There was Charity Jensen who "spent almost her whole life in Africa" and then there was Brian Laidlaw, the "Trampoline kid," who bounced his way through life. Weird. Just plain old weird and not normal.

Mr. Inayatullah, who asked to be called Mr. In, was their teacher. Weird Charity shook his hand when she came into the classroom and stood when called on. She wanted to make friends, but it wasn't going to be easy. Charity was "homesick for Shibuye," her school, and her best friend, Grace Mbaya. Her parents had been missionaries, but things changed forever when her dad decided he just had to have a spire on their church. Mr. Kafuna was dead and "if it weren't for [her] father, he would still be alive." Charity was way too far away from Kenya in a strange place where they didn't even pray at school. Heck, her dad wouldn't even say grace at meals anymore.

Everyone would be working on an "Explore the World" project with another student. As luck would have it, Mr. In paired Sylvan with Brian, who was always "awkward and nervous" and Charity was stuck with Adam, who wouldn't do a lick of work. Brian was playing math games on the library computer. Such an idiot. Adam was doing nothing. Another idiot. All of a sudden the classroom got lots of attention as the principal and other observers began to come in.
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