Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Friday, August 2, 2013

Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, Snake Hill by James Patterson

How I Heard About It: Years ago I read the first book in this series and remember really enjoying it.  Some of my fourth graders have read the books and they also enjoy them.  Right before I started teaching summer school to my former fourth graders, I saw this book on the shelf at the book store.  It looked like it would be a great choice for my summer read aloud to students that need some extra help.  I also thought it would grab their attention and lure them into the world of read aloud!   

What It Is About:  I guess this is the fourth book in this series.  As I mentioned, I had read the first one.  After reading this one, I will make sure I have all four books in my classroom library.  This book continues the adventures of Rafe.  This time he is attending summer camp.  Although it is actually summer school for him and summer camp for his sister.  Rafe ends up in a cabin for what the rest of the camp regards as losers.  He is fine with this and as the story progresses, he becomes quite good friends with the boys.  There are lots of adventures during Rafe's stay at Camp Wannamorra.  Most of these adventures involve another cabin with the "popular" boys at camp.  By the end of the summer Rafe has learned many important lessons about camp, summer school, reading, books, friends, enemies, and most importantly himself. 

What I Thought Of It: I'm not sure if my students or I enjoyed this story more.  What was great was seeing the children become more and more interested in the story as I read to them during our sixteen days together.  It was a fast-paced story with many funny, action packed scenes.  On the surface the story may seem pretty light and funny, but when you dig deeper, you find an emotionally deep and meaningful story.  Each of these "loser" boys had a story to tell and it was so wonderful to get to know them, their strengths, and how they came to rely on each other.  This was a truly enjoyable read!  

Who Should Read It:  This is definitely going to be a book (and series) that I will book talk with my fourth graders.  It would make (and DID) a wonderful read aloud or a book club selection book.  Readers that are between the ages of fourth grade and sixth grade (and probably middle school for that matter - hence the title) would truly enjoy this book.  I think it also targets those students that might not enjoy reading longer chapter books.  It is high interest, high laughs, and definitely high engagement!  I can't wait to introduce it to my students this fall.  Happy Reading...

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