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|My life as a book|
Author: Tashjian, Janet
Book 1--Derek, 12, spends summer break learning important lessons even though he does not complete his summer reading list.
My Life, Bk. 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 140834
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 50309
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Kirkus Reviews (+) (06/15/10)
School Library Journal (08/01/10)
Booklist (+) (08/01/10)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/10)
The Hornbook (07/10)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2010 Officially dubbed a reluctant reader by his teacher, twelve-year-old Derek Fallon has recently found himself spending much of his free time fending off his parents’ persistent efforts to teach him “the value of an education.” Derek therefore can’t wait for the chance to fill the long, lazy days of the summer with whatever activities he chooses (simulating an epic battle with avocadoes and trying to set his neighbor’s lawn on fire seem like a good start), but his mother has other plans, including one that sends Derek off to Learning Camp despite his protests (including a threat to shave the family pets with his father’s electric razor). The story could have taken a didactic turn here, but, fortunately, Tashjian forgoes the lecture on the importance of reading and instead allows Derek’s summer to unfold organically, implicitly highlighting the various learning experiences kids have outside of formal education. In spite of his teacher’s disapproval, Derek is obviously a bright kid-albeit an incredibly disobedient one-and his frustrations with the adults in his life and their good intentions will no doubt ring true with reluctant and avid readers alike. The subplot involving an old newspaper article and Derek’s former babysitter provides interesting insight into Derek’s perception of himself, while the resolution does not, in fact, imbue him with a love of reading but rather a mere tolerance of it. Amusing stick figures accompany Derek’s narration, dutifully following his teacher’s suggestion of animating any difficult vocabulary word. Comparisons to Kinney’s Wimpy Kid are no doubt likely, and this will particularly gratify the younger end of that fan base. KQG - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2010 Gr 4–7—Twelve-year-old Derek has been identified as a reluctant reader. He likes to read, but doesn't enjoy required materials. He says he prefers having his own adventures (tossing as hand grenades the avocados his mother is saving for dinner, climbing onto the roof with a croquet set to hit wooden balls into the satellite dish) to learning about someone else's life. When his teacher gives the class summer reading and writing assignments, Derek finds a way to distract himself from the task. He discovers an old newspaper clipping about a 17-year-old who drowned, and his mother explains that the teen was babysitting him at the time and died saving him. Derek is determined to learn more about her death and his involvement in it. The margins of this book feature vocabulary words illustrated with cartoons. The protagonist is by turns likable and irritating, but always interesting. He is sure to engage fans of Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books (Abrams) as well as those looking for a spunky, contemporary boy with a mystery to solve. Reluctant readers will appreciate the book's large print and quick-paced story.—Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2010 *Starred Review* Twelve-year-old Derek is not a reader. His assignment to read three books over the summer stinks. But then something that he wants to read catches Derek’s eye. In the attic, he finds a 10-year-old article about a teenage girl who drowned on a Martha’s Vineyard beach. When he questions his mother about the article, her nervousness tells him something’s up, so he takes on the assignment of discovering what happened on the beach that day and why it’s important. Janet Tashjian, known for her young adult books, offers a novel that’s part Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007),part intriguing mystery; yet the best element here is really the first-person voice, which captures so completely the pushes and pulls in the life of someone with learning disabilities. Derek is brash, careless, and usually willing to do something stupid. He is also bright, a talented artist, and smart enough to know when he has gone too far. Adding to the book’s effectiveness is a generous typeface that looks like printing and artwork by the author’s 14-year-old son, Jake. Like the story’s narrator, he uses stick figures to illustrate vocabulary words, and here they march down the margins. Some are simple depictions, like a handful of flowers for the word bouquet. Some take more thought: a sad face moving to a happier one for adapt. Give this to kids who think they don’t like reading. It might change their minds. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.