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Publishers Weekly, 2010-10-18 In this skillfully constructed first novel, Buyea conveys the impact that an inspiring new teacher has on his fifth-grade class through the alternating voices of seven complex students, including class clown Peter, thoughtful new student Jessica, relentlessly teased Danielle, and mean-girl Alexia ("Mom told me... Alexia, don't let people push you around like your father did to us. You take charge and fight back.' So there's no way I'm going back to being nice"). For the most part, Mr. Terupt's unconventional teaching style proves capable of reaching even his most difficult students as the year progresses; his gentle guidance leads to some potent lessons about tolerance, self-advocacy, and responsibility. However, some in the community disapprove of his lax disciplinary measures and hands-on educational methods. When an accident during a snowball fight lands Mr. Terupt in the hospital, readers-like students in the class-are left to decide who, if anyone, is to blame. Introducing characters and conflicts that will be familiar to any middle-school student, this powerful and emotional story is likely to spur discussion. Ages 9-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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