Fourth Grade Journey

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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko

How I Heard About It:  I've had copies of this novel in my classroom collection for years.  I was also curious about the cover, but never got around to reading it.  For my drive to the Reading Summit, I checked out the audio version of this book and listened to it on my way back.  

What It Is About:  Starting seventh grade is hard enough, but when your parents are arguing, your best friend has decided to hang with the popular mean girl, and the new boy in school has more to do with her than she realizes; Kirsten's year just might be the most difficult of any of her classmates.  Walker is not quite sure of how being the only black student at an all white school is going to work, but his mother insists it is the best thing for him and his future.  Walker meets Matteo and the two of them hit it off while maintaining their great grades and good behavior.  When the "mean" girl Brianna has a secret about Matteo, she makes life for him, Walker, and Kirsten miserable.  Kirsten has enough to worry about at school, but when she finds out why her parents are having issues, she has a whole lot more to deal with.  

What I Thought Of It:  The narration of this novel was excellent.  It provided me four hours of enjoyment.  The story was somewhat "typical" with middle-school issues and relationships, but the plot held my interest for the entire listen.  I enjoyed that the story focused on both Kirsten's school and home life.  There were plenty of events that took me my surprise and many life lessons that I'm sure lots of middle-schoolers have to deal with.  I'm pleased that I finally got to his story.  

Who Should Read It:  This is a hard one for me to answer.  I've seen that the target audience is for readers in grades five through seven.  In my opinion, that audience is a bit young for this book.  I found there were many mature issues, themes, and words used throughout the story.  Readers in grades seven, eight, and above would be more appropriate for the novel.  Of course, this is just my personal opinion.  I would just read it first before putting it into the hands of a young reader.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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