Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: E.L. Konigsburg
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Join four sixth graders and their teacher, Mrs. O., as they tell share their journeys leading up to being chosen to compete on the sixth grade Academic Bowl team. Each student has a different background and family life.Noah’s life becomes that much more exciting when he unexpectedly becomes the best man at his classmate’s grandparents’ wedding. Ethan has an older brother who set the bar really high, which makes him anxious as he figures out what he is good at. Nadia’s parents are divorced, so she spends some time in Florida getting to know herself and her dad. Julian is Indian and just moved in. His mother passed away recently and his dad is renovating an old house in town. Finally, Mrs. O is their sixth grade teacher and a paraplegic, who watches these four become best friends, and the winning sixth grade Academic Bowl team.
Students in upper elementary grades will especially enjoy this book. The different perspectives that the book is written from are fun for children to piece together, like a puzzle. The characters' stories intertwine as each student takes turns telling the chapters from his or her point of view. Several difficult topics that this book addresses include family frustrations, bullying at school, divorce, and death. There are several family dynamics that the children in this book experience, which makes it relatable to many readers. The ending isn’t as satisfying as it could be, but E.L. Koingsburg's clever writing gives an insight to the world and perspective of sixth grade children.