A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period, by Newbery Honor-winning author Gennifer Choldenko (Al Capone Does My Shirts) is the story of a girl who's starting seventh grade at an upscale private school and having trouble fitting in. It deals with some mean-girl issues. Also, part of the plot revolves around a "love child," and some secondary characters are racist.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Kirsten is entering seventh grade at an upscale private school, and nothing's going right. Her parents aren't speaking to each other, her best friend, Rory, has abandoned her for the mean social queen bee of their grade, and she's gained 30 pounds in the past few months. But on the first day, she meets new kid Walk -- one of the very few African Americans at her school -- and they soon strike up a friendship. Kirsten's mother isn't happy about this new friendship and advises her to "be one of the crowd." Perhaps a new pair of boots from Nordstrom will help. But when a shocking family secret -- the source of the friction between her parents -- is revealed, it's Kirsten's good heart and common sense that will pull them through.
Is it any good?
Newbery Honor-winning author Gennifer Choldenko knows how to draw readers in and keep them there. Kirsten and Walk are winning protagonists (and Kirsten's voice is snappy-funny), the short alternating chapters keep readers wanting more, and, just when you think you know where it's all going, there's a big coincidence that adds a fascinating level of complexity. For a book with so little action, it's awfully hard to put down.
Alternating chapters focus on Kirsten (told in first person) and Walk (told in the third person), but somehow it all works.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the issue of fitting in is shown in If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period. How far would you go to fit in?
Is it possible to get along and be happy in middle and high school and be yourself at the same time?
Have you read Gennifer Choldenko's popular series that starts with Al Capone Does My Shirts? How does this book compare?
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