My school library started to promote next year's Rebecca Caudill list. This is a yearly list of 20 books chosen by and for students in grades 4-8. It's a great place to start if you're looking for books to add to your classroom library, even if you're not in Illinois. At one of my schools, we were fortunate to have a PTA that purchased an entire set of these books for every ELA teacher in the school.
We promote these books all year long with various incentives, including a reading celebration for those who read X number of books (every school is different). Any student in the state who reads 3 or more books from the list can vote in February for The Young Readers Book Award (click on the link for a complete list of past winners).
As soon as the 2015 list was posted, our LMC Director and Assistant started pulling the books from our shelves so our students could start reading. And, of course, I had to check out the list myself.
One of the books that caught my attention was Slob by Ellen Potter. I mean, any book with an Oreo cookie on the cover is certainly going to get a second look from me (Don't judge!), and after a quick read of the summary on the back, I knew this was a book I'd enjoy.
The story is narrated by Owen, who is not only the fattest kid in school but also the smartest. Unfortunately, this makes him a target for not only his peers but also his teachers, and poor Owen is pushed to his limits when he realizes that someone has been stealing his beloved Oreos from his lunch. Luckily, he's a great inventor and is certain that all the answers to his problems will be solved when he finishes his TV that shows two years into the past.
I love the voice in this book. I fell in love with Owen when he described the way he had to climb above the refrigerator to the "think-it-through cabinet" to retrieve his cookies. It was his mom's idea to keep them there, so he has to really decide if the cookies are worth the effort... and, of course, they are... I can relate!
Here's a great synopsis I found on StorySnoops:
This funny and poignant book is a speed read with depth. Two years earlier, Owen heard the gunshots that killed his parents and had to make a choice between going to help, or protecting his sister. Now in a loving home, this choice still haunts Owen and has caused him to over-eat. Over time, Owen and his sister work through, and triumph over, their issues in healthy ways. With the help of his Buddhist friend, Owen learns to let go of anger and to focus on being a good person. Positive messages abound, including not judging a book by its cover, the value of intelligence, doing the right thing, and the idea that bravery doesn't require brawn. While these positive messages would not be completely lost on an eight-year-old, the book may be best saved for a slightly older child who could truly appreciate the rich themes and emotions in the story.
**Please check my book log for a complete list of my Monday book reviews.