A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the male authors and illustrators of this uneven short story collection are exploring masculinity. There is some stereotyping -- and some graphic stuff (including hazing that involves nudity, hanging bolts from and tying a rope around a male appendage, anal application of Tabasco). But the theme of this collection, and the entries themselves, may make it appeal to male teens, perhaps especially reluctant readers. Profits go to support the Guys Read Web site.
What's the story?
A collection of nearly 100 very short stories, anecdotes, drawings, essays, comics, and memories from favorite authors from the Guys Read website, as well as from literacy experts and editors. Authors like M.T. Anderson and Walter Dean Myers have entries. Selections include numerous memories about fathers, pranks, and bullies, thoughts about what it means to be a guy, and anecdotes about the paths that led to becoming writers and illustrators. Each is followed by a few facts about the author and a few titles of his books.
Is it any good?
Guys read, but judging from this collection, they don't care much about quality. With a few exceptions, the writing here is flat and reads like a homework assignment done at the last minute. And some of the guys who write have ideas about guy-ness so stereotypical that even a 10-year-old would sneer -- real guys apparently burp, fart, and play sports. Alert the media.
This was a good idea -- getting boys to read, and keeping them reading, is a worthy goal, and the profits go to support the Guys Read Web site. And there are some gems among much dross, and a few that defy the stereotypes. Perhaps it will appeal to reluctant readers -- and get teen boys interested in the work of some of the authors here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the intent here. What is the point of this book? Why do you think the authors were interested in contributing? Do any of the portrayals resonate with you? Did anything feel stereotypical?
Money from this book goes to support Guys Read, an organization with a mission to "help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers." Do boys need special help in this area? Are there specific books or genres that you think are more appealing to boys?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.