Fourth Grade Journey

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington...

How I Heard About It:  I'm not sure where and when I heard about this book, but I'm thinking it was on Twitter quite awhile ago.  During one of my book buying trips, I picked it up.  

What It Is About:  Mysti is going into seventh grade but is not worried because she has her best friend Anibal by her side.  But once school starts, she learns that he has other plans.  He wants to try to become one of the "hipsters" and can't have her hanging around him.  Anibal says it is only a test during school hours and they can remain friends outside of school.  At home, things are not any easier for Mysti.  Her mother is bound to the home because of her fears of the "outside" world.  She has an annoying younger sister.  Most of the responsibility of the home falls on her father.  This all changes when he has an accident and ends up in the hospital.  How is Mysti going to manage life at home with an "absent" mother, a younger sister, and no father.  She also has to navigate middle-school without her best friend and living at the "loser" table during lunch.

What I Thought Of It:  This story was engaging and a great read for me.  I enjoyed both the story line that took place at home and the story line that took place at school.  Mysti had her share of problems, but the story was not weighed down by them.  She handled everything with grace and "courage."  I found the new friendships Mysti made during her time at the loser table, heart-warming and tender.  It showed the power of friendship.

Who Should Read It:  This would make for a perfect read for students in grades five and/or six.  I especially think girls would enjoy this story more than boys.  The book could make for a powerful read aloud in grades four through six.  There are lots of great themes and issues that could be discussed throughout this story.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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