Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gateway 14: Muchacho by Louanne Johnson

I have to admit I was not looking forward to this book. It didn't sound good. Boy was I wrong. Maybe if I'd paid attention to who it was written by, the same woman who wrote the memoir that became the movie Dangerous Minds, I would have known better.

This book is told from a Mexican boy's point of view. His name is Eddie. He has a rough life. He's been sent to a special school because of his anger and fighting. He has lots of things in his life that work to try to keep him from finishing school. But Eddie is a secret reader. Eddie is a secret writer as well.

What I loved about this book, from the first page I was hooked. When he began talking about the teacher that kind of really inspired him throughout this book. And how she got kicked/chased out, and while he did nothing to stop it, or let her know at the time that she did reach him, throughout the book he references things she did or talked about with them.

And I love that this book is written just how I'm sure most students think. I can hear these same ideas coming from the things my students say. The why do we need to know this? I know it was written by a teacher/adult, but I also am sure she based it on those writings from her students and how she knew them from working with them. I do love how the kids says testing is ruining school even for the students who like it. Something I am wholly onboard with.

Other than a bit of language and risque themes, but still all realistic for high school kids, this is one of my highest recommendations for the Gateway list for next year. I loved, loved, loved, loved it!!! Might even have it as a staff rec at the bookstore at some point.