Posts tagged ‘student-teacher relationships’


Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked #1

Written by Maggie M. Larche


What else could go wrong? Charlie is in love with his teacher, Miss Walker. His best friend Brad brings his one-eyed lizard to school and loses it. The intelligent but insecure and nervous Brad has just been nominated to be on the Knowledge Bowl team. Miss Walker’s favorite alarm clock has disappeared. Two girls who are bitter enemies vow to become detective rivals locked in a contest to find the culprit. To make matters even worse, their muscle-bound music teacher, Mr. Wainwright, is also enamored of Miss Walker. He is determined to find and punish the student thief. Throughout the school day this elusive clock will make its way around the school until the culprit is found. Will the truth ever come out? Who will finally solve the mystery? Will the thief get the punishment he deserves?

This book is aimed at the eight to twelve year old audience and features a nice balance of elements that appeal to this age group. There is lots of humor, enough plot twists, and empathetic characters with which readers can identify. Readers will surely be able to see themselves either as victims or heroes in the plot. Recommended as a fun read for friends or classmates to share and discuss.

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The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones

Written by Dominic Carrillo


A very well-written novel that traces the experiences of a Mexican-American eighth grader struggling to fit into an exclusive private school and falling in love for the first time. Paco Jones is taunted by his classmates as Taco Jones; he is unattractive, nonathletic, uncool and poor. Paco’s biracial parents are determined to see that their son has a chance of success and struggle to give him a good education. Paco wants to gain the acceptance of his peers and please his parents. To complicate his situation further, Paco falls desperately in love with a black girl named Naomi, who is dating Trent, one of the popular jocks at school. When Naomi becomes impressed with Paco’s intelligence and honesty; she takes him into her confidence and reveals her true feelings about Trent. Strangely enough, Trent also enlists Paco’s help in his effort to woo Naomi. Paco becomes trapped between his two friends, and almost gets expelled in the process. Despite the trouble in which Paco finds himself, he remains true to his principles revealing his real character.

This tale deals with many issues that young adult readers face. Paco faces racial discrimination, economic insecurity, first love issues and parental child responsibilities. He winds his way through a myriad of difficulties, only to find out that there is not always a simple solution or a rosy ending. Characters are well- developed multicultural, and multidimensional; readers empathize with Paco, find a strong female role model in Naomi, and discover the strengths and flaws in others like Trent and Mr. Holiday. As a bonus, the author/teacher provides discussion questions that align with the US common core standards. This book also provides a flashback for adult readers who may have forgotten those turbulent junior high days. Recommended for readers age twelve and older.

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Dear God, Please Forgive Me for Hating Jessica Maloney

Written by Junia Wonders

Illustrated by Divin Meir


At the beginning of the story, the reader meets the author who is writing a letter to God asking for forgiveness for hating Jessica Maloney. Don’t be mistaken; this book is not preachy or religious in the strict sense of the word.

Plot centers around the author, her friend Minty and a boy named Andy who are classmates in a private school. Jessica Maloney is the most popular and prettiest girl in school, but she is far from perfect. She uses her status as the headmaster’s daughter as an advantage to bully other students that she sees as inferior to her. Our narrator is called “Four-Eyed Freak, gets her dress slit, gum placed in her braids, and a book from the library ripped into shreds. Her best friend, Minty, has her pigtails cut, and a friend named Andy, who has hygiene problems, becomes an outcast due to Jessica’s shenanigans. Jessica throws a tantrum in gym class and gets away with it because the teacher is afraid of losing her job.

There seems to be no way of fighting back until our narrator concocts a clever plan. She teams up with Minty and Andy to draw “unflattering” posters of Jessica that suddenly appear all over the school. What is on those posters and how will they help teach Jessica a lesson? At the end of the story the narrator explains that all three children feel guilty and apologize to their teacher and even to Jessica.

Nice example for children to teach how to deal with bullies without escalating the bullying.

This book is targeted to children ages six to nine, which seems appropriate. The illustrator’s beautiful watercolor pictures with pencil details add lots of depth and emotion to the story. Characters are multiracial. Nice book to have handy for parents and teachers to open up a productive discussion on the nature and types of bullying. Available in kindle and paperback formats.

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