Steilacoom High School joins literally thousands of schools across the country who sponsor All-School Reads for a variety of positive reasons, such as reinforcing reading, vocabulary and thinking skills; expanding awareness of other perspectives and situations; and building a shared experience in the school community.
Why Read for 20 Minutes a Day?
Like many things, we get better when we practice. Reading more leads to reading better, and reading is a fundamental part of college and career success, as well as a valuable lifelong activity. Consider these statistics (from Nagy & Herman, 1987):
Introducing this year’s book:Deadline by Chris Crutcher
Given the medical diagnosis of one year to live, high school senior Ben Wolf decides to fulfill his greatest fantasies, ponders his life's purpose and legacy, and learns a lot about family, community, and quite a bit about how the decisions people make affect the lives of others, intentionally or not.
Young Readers Choice Award 2010 Nominee From one of several note-worthy journal reviews:
School Library Journal September 1, 2007
Gr 9 Up- After being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia, 18-year-old Ben Wolf elects to forgo treatment and keep his illness secret from his family and friends in an attempt to have a "normal" senior year at his small Idaho high school. Free from long-term consequences, he connects with his crush, frustrates his biased U.S. Government teacher, and tries out for football. However, Ben's illness slowly exacts its toll on him, and he begins to realize the consequences of keeping his condition hidden. Crutcher brings his signature blend of sports action and human emotion to this powerful novel. Emotionally spare but deeply touching, the relationship between Ben and his brother will resonate with many readers, while others may find the several strong father figures comforting. Secondary characters add humor and balance, though the government teacher's voice occasionally veers too far toward that of a right-wing pundit. Rudy McCoy, a former priest and child molester, evokes both compassion and revulsion through his confession of guilt and struggle to avoid hurting another child; reflecting Ben's secret-keeping behavior, McCoy serves as a foil for the destructive impact secrets can have. Some discussion of sexual molestation and child abuse is present in the text, but is not graphic or overwhelming in its depiction. Crutcher uses dark humor and self-deprecation effectively to avoid maudlin situations, and teens will appreciate the respectful tone of the work.-Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
About the Author
Chris Crutcher grew up in Cascade, Idaho, and now lives in Spokane. He is the critically acclaimed author of nine novels and a collection of short stories for teenagers, all chosen as ALA Best Books. In 2000, he received the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award, honoring his lifetime contribution in writing for teens. Drawing on his experience as an athlete, teacher, family therapist, and child protections specialist, he unflinchingly writes about real and often-ignored issues that face teenagers today.
We will be building on our 2014 All-School Read experience through Book Talks during a few advisories throughout the school year. Several themes are apparent, but will center on concepts such as considering the effect we have on our worlds (a legacy), respecting the diverse experiences of others, the consequences of avoiding the truth, and tie-ins to our school PRIDE focus.
This book matches several criteria of the Young Adult Literature genre, such as characters and issues that teens relate to, language that may be considered typical of some contemporary teenagers especially in conversations with close friends, and told by a teen narrator in their own voice (based on Herz and Gallo, From Hinton to Hamlet: building bridges between young adult literature and the classics, 2005).
As with movies or TV shows that may contain language or scenarios that younger students or family standards may not support, these alternate titles are suggested. They have common themes through different settings or events, and do not include strong language.
Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt
"Henry Smith's father told him that if you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you." But Trouble comes careening down the road one night in the form of a pickup truck that strikes Henry's older brother, Franklin. In the truck is Chay Chouan, a young Cambodian from Franklin's preparatory school, and the accident sparks racial tensions in the school—and in the well-established town where Henry's family has lived for generations. Caught between anger and grief, Henry sets out to do the only thing he can think of: climb Mt. Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine, which he and Franklin were going to climb together. Along with Black Dog, whom Henry has rescued from drowning, and a friend, Henry leaves without his parents' knowledge. The journey, both exhilarating and dangerous, turns into an odyssey of discovery about himself, his older sister, Louisa, his ancestry, and why one can never escape from Trouble.
The Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman
A Brooklyn eighth-grader nicknamed Antsy befriends the Schwa, an "invisible-ish" boy who is tired of blending into his surroundings and going unnoticed by nearly everyone.
They say his clothes blend into the background, no matter where he stands. They say a lot of things about the Schwa, but one thing's for sure: no one ever noticed him. Except me. My name is Antsy Bonano, and I was the one who realized the Schwa was "functionally invisible" and used him to make some big bucks. But I was also the one who caused him more grief than a friend should. So if you all just shut up and listen, I'll tell you everything there is to know about the Schwa, from how he got his name, to what really happened with his mom. I'll spill everything. Unless, of course, "the Schwa Effect" wipes him out of my brain before I'm done….” (The sequel is “Antsy Does Time” with even more similarities to “Deadline.”)
Gr 8 Up-After drinking some vodka and taking his mom's car for a spin to his father's girlfriend's house, who just happens to be his former third-grade teacher, 16-year-old Alex Gregory finds himself on his neighbors' lawn with police yelling at him and a broken gnome under his car. It is hard to believe that Alex would do anything like this; most of the time he hangs out with his friend Laurie, a sassy petite karate expert, and plays guitar in the school jazz band. He is also trying to get over his parents' recent split. For drinking and driving, Alex is sentenced to 100 hours of community service at a nursing home with Solomon Lewis. Sol is a difficult, crotchety, eccentric old man with emphysema who lashes out at Alex in strange Yiddish phrases. Soon Alex grows found of Sol, who teaches him something about the guitar, respecting the elderly, and taking responsibility for his actions. Alex's voice is fresh and funny, but doesn't downplay the serious situations.