Saturday, March 3, 2018

Crenshaw (Katherine Applegate)

April 2016: Wow. This is an intense story. Poverty is hard on parents. I was especially struck with how hard it is on kids too. I had thought this would be a One School One Book choice. The topic certainly would be timely given our economy and the oil industry right now. However, just like Jacksons parents, my instinct is to not expose kids to sad stories of homelessness, hunger and other financial struggles. I am not sure I would read it with kids younger than grade three.

I think this would make a great novel study. I can imagine great discussions could come out of this story. We could even start a food drive for the food bank. Good character project!

I loved the cover for this book. Jackson has an imaginary friend who helps him through hard times. That seems right. 

Reread March 2018
Questions to bring up at book club:
- Why do you think Jackson's parents don't tell him everything about their troubles? Should parents tell their kids more?
Jackson wasn't honest with his friend about their situation. Wasn't he doing just what his parents were doing?
Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
How can imaginary friends help kids?
Why did the author choose a cat as an imaginary friend? Cats are often not that friendly. They don't mind being alone.
Was Crenshaw a typical cat? He really didnt like dogs....???what else?
Why did the author make him so silly? (He loved jelly beans, bubble baths, etc)

Goodreads summary:

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

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