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Author: Messner, Kate
From multiple perspectives, tells of a time capsule project and the middle schoolers who contribute, including future journalist Nora Tucker and newcomer Elidee Jones, whose brother is in the local prison.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 195298
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 73541
Kirkus Reviews (04/01/18)
School Library Journal (+) (02/01/18)
The Hornbook (00/05/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2018 Gr 4–6—Nora and Lizzie have grown up in Wolf Creek, a small town where Nora's father is superintendent of the maximum security prison. Elidee, one of only two African American students at Wolf Creek Middle School, recently moved there to be closer to her brother who is incarcerated in Wolf Creek Correctional Facility. When two inmates escape, tensions begin to rise. The story is told through letters and other documents by the three girls. Nora reports on the breakout, Lizzie parodies these reports, and Elidee writes poetry inspired by Jacqueline Woodson and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Readers also see text messages, school announcements, comics, and transcribed conversations. The book is a rich source of writing examples which can become didactic: at one point, students duly follow their teacher's instructions on persuasive writing to write petitions. The broad range of writing formats is engaging, however, and allows readers to understand the varying viewpoints of Nora, Elidee, and Lizzie. Messner places issues of race and criminal justice at the center of the story: Elidee frequently encounters racism in Wolf Creek, Lizzie learns about racial imbalances in the prison population, and Nora's older brother tells her about Black Lives Matter. The few middle grade titles that include characters in prison in a contemporary setting (Leslie Connor's All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, Deborah Ellis's Jakeman) don't discuss these issues so explicitly. VERDICT An accessible format and a unique focus on contemporary issues of criminal justice and racial bias make this an essential purchase.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2018 When two inmates escape from Wolf Creek’s maximum-security prison, the usually sleepy town becomes the setting of a 16-day manhunt. Messner creatively packages her scrapbook-style story as an entry for a community time capsule, compiling letters and other documents from three seventh-grade girls, whose individual perspectives and personalities are clearly reflected. Spearheading the endeavor is Nora, aspiring journalist and daughter of the prison superintendent, who writes news articles on the town’s unfolding drama. Her friend Lizzie, future mathematician or comedian, contributes parody news pieces, infographics, and transcribed conversations from around town. Most compelling, however, is Elidee, the new girl and one of only two black kids in the seventh grade. Her writing includes unsent letters to her brother in Wolf Creek’s prison and poetry styled after writers she admires: Nikki Giovanni, Nikki Grimes, Jacqueline Woodson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Elidee gracefully deals with residents’ ignorance and prejudice, opening Nora’s eyes to issues like racism, police bias, and white privilege. Fast-moving but occasionally repetitive, the story successfully balances excitement with larger issues, ripe for classroom discussion. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.