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The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, by Leslie Connor (Waiting for Normal), is a sympathetic portrayal of life inside a minimum-security prison. There's none of the prison drama typical in popular media -- no violence, no bitter rivalries, no sense of menace. It's an unconventional family of residents reconciling with their troubled pasts and striving for a better future, trying to rise up together. Several residents talk about why they're in prison, including for manslaughter, and most accept responsibility for what they've done. Perry, age 11, who was born and raised in the prison, is wonderfully resilient, doing his best to maintain his integrity and honor with his prison family without disrespecting his new foster family, headed by a man with a dubious claim to the moral high ground.
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What's the story?
Eleven-year-old Perry T. Cook has grown up in Blue River Coed Correctional Facility. He's done nothing wrong, but his mother, Jessica, is serving time for manslaughter. When Mr. VanLeer, the new district attorney, learns of the unconventional arrangement, he takes Perry into his own home and interferes with Jessica's upcoming bid for parole. Perry desperately misses the only family he's ever known and feels ill at ease living "outside," but he applies the lessons he learned in the prison to cope in this new household. As VanLeer tries to break Perry's ties to Blue River, Perry fights back by working on a project to share the Blue River residents' stories and show what his real home has meant to him.
Is it any good?
This memorable novel celebrates unconventional families and the resilience of the human spirit in turbulent times. Isolated in prison, the residents build a strong community in which Perry thrives. Thoughtful readers of ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK will be challenged to reconsider their presumptions about integrity, justice, and happy families. Perry's family is certainly flawed, but it's given him reason to wrestle with questions of honesty, fairness, and responsibility and equipped him with the skills to weather adversity.
Author Leslie Conner has created a fully realized world with caring, well-intentioned adults and children who are necessarily wise beyond their years.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about prison. How does the portrayal here compare with the way you've seen prison portrayed in movies, on TV, or in other books?
How does Jessica's voice affect the story? Do many stories about kids share what the adults are thinking?
Perry knows only one relative -- his mother -- but he has a large community of people he considers family. Aside from your relatives, do you have caring adults and friends you consider family?
- Author: Leslie Connor
- Genre: Family Life
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: March 1, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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