Friday, January 2, 2015

Because of Mr. Terupt (Rob Buyea)

This book was recommended by Erin Soderberg, when we skyped with her. It took me a little while to get into it, and I found I had to keep notes on each of the characters because I wasn't keeping them straight in my head - but once I got into it it got easier.

Goodreads Summary:

It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.

Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone.

This story made me reflect on how everyone has a story and everyone deserves a little extra kindness. The influence of a good teacher made my heart swell. The story is told from each student's perspective, similar to how Wonder is told. It was a really effective way to tell the story.

Far be it from me to ever disagree with Donalyn Miller - until today. In her review she thought the student's voices were too mature for grade 5. I don't know though. Kids can have a lot of depth and I didn't find it too unrealistic.

The teacher, Mr. Terupt, is new and is a fabulous teacher. He helps his students work together and realize they're stronger when they're united. He teaches them to be kind through experiences with students with special needs. He allows them choice. He gives them rewards. He is real and open with them....and he changes a lot of lives.

The end of the story made me cry. I was reading in a public place. Be warned! You might want to be alone for the ending.

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