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Because of Mr. Terupt Hardcover – October 12, 2010
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The characters come from a wide variety of backgrounds, which I think is great. But I found some of situations to be a little heavy for what I want my nine-year-old reading just yet. Two of the characters have parents that have had divorces as a result of affairs (other girlfriends). One child was born when her mom was still in high school (maybe 16 or 17 years old, I don't quite recall). Though these situations are real - along with the sadness, grief, shame, and guilt that accompany them - I don't think I'm ready for that to take up space in my daughter's leisure reading time yet.
I realize that this is probably a more accurate reflection of society than I would hope, but those are a couple of things I would have wanted to know *before* my child read this book, so that I could have the chance to either 1) hold off for a while on introducing this book or 2) read it as a read-aloud so we could discuss these topics right then. As it happened, I was so intruiged by the book, I ended up reading it before I passed it on to her -- so for me, the problem was avoided.
I'm definitely sticking the book on the shelf for a year or two though, and plan to bring it out later. It was an excellent read with many good examples of good and bad behavior, and characters changing (an excellent life skill to learn!). I just think the nine side of the 9-12 age range was a little low, even if reading ability was considerably higher.
The book was both funny and sad. I would recommend it for both genders. I thought it was interesting to hear a story told by different people in their own words. You could even take one person's perspective out of the book and it would make a great stand-alone story. I hope that Rob Buyea writes a sequel when the kids are in 6th grade.
Mr. Terupt is a young teacher who not only wants to teach his students the 5th grade curriculum, but he wants to do more. He reaches out to each student individually, sometimes in very subtle ways, such as assigning two girls to be partners on a project whose families are at odds with one another. The story is told in alternating points of views from the students whose lives he's touched. The characters will be familiar, but they are in no way flat stereotypes. By getting inside the kids' heads, the reader begins to understand those who are different from them. Each fifth-grade class has these types of students, and so readers will definitely be able to relate to the cast: the mean/popular girl, the shy girl, the misfit, the brainiac, the new kid. In addition to this diverse group, the class gets involved with some special needs students as well, which is a surefire way to change the pre-adolescent "Me, me, me" mentality.
This was a great book. It's the kind of book that will appeal to adults and tweens alike. This story will be with me for a long, long time.
My granddaughter came home from her first day in fourth grade with the comment, "I have a "Luke" sitting nest to me." We talked again about how you don't know what others' lives are like, and that the best policy is just to be nice to everyone.
My daughter read this book non-stop until she finished it. She loooved it. It's sad--as she pointed out--but powerful and amazing.
A great book to get kids both reading and thinking. Great characters and story. Good job, Mr. Buyea. Hope to see more from you soon.
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I RECCOMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE THAT LOVES A GOOD DEEP BOOK.