Fourth Grade Journey

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Seventh Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin

How I Heard About It:  So many of my Twitter friends have been talking about this novel throughout the summer.  I added it to a book purchase that I was submitting online.  I started it earlier this week and finished last night.  Such an enjoyable read.  

What It Is About:  Life in seventh grade can be difficult.  When you are a boy that is suppose to want to play football, but you would rather dance, life can be even more difficult.  Dillon is on the seventh-grade football team which makes his father very happy.  The problem is it doesn't make Dillon all that happy.  He would rather spend his time dancing.  Dillon and his "crew" love to dance and make videos of them.  Dillon has never had formal training, but he loves to move, dance, and create new and unique dances.  When a formal dance studio announces a scholarship contest, Dillon and his friends decide to have him audition and if he wins, they will show them how against they are to formal training.  Dillon finds himself caught between the dancers he hangs with and their free-form style and the dancers at the studio that try to teach him the rules and movements of dance.  Throw in his parents, his football team, and romantic feelings; and you have a crazy up and down seventh grade year.  

What I Thought Of It:  It is always such a joy to read a story that hasn't been told before.  This was such a unique, fun, and special story.  I'm so glad that there are more and more books being published for middle-grade readers to show them that there isn't just one "path" that boys and girls should take.  The message about loving yourself and being yourself was at the fore-front of the story.  Not only did Dillon need to find his own road to take, but most of the supporting characters that surrounded him had their own journeys to take.  The plot moved along at a perfect pace and kept my interest for the entire reading experience.  After reading the book, I can see why so many people have been giving this book rave reviews.  

Who Should Read It:  This is a hard one for me to pinpoint.  For the most part I think this story could be read by fifth and sixth grade readers.  Of course it would be perfect for the middle-school reader.  I happen to teach in a conservative district and some of the themes presented in the story may get questions and concerns from our "clients".  I certainly don't agree with this, but as a teacher you have to work with what you have.  This is definitely a novel that will be in my classroom library and I hope many of my students read it.  It is an important story to be shared so that all of our young people know they are OK for just who they are!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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