What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a realistic portrayal of a teen pregnancy and parenthood, and readers will get a good look at the difficulties November now faces in her life. As books about teen pregnancy go, this one is pretty mild -- no sex scenes, and no glossing over the difficulties. There are references to having unprotected sex, a clinical description of conception, prenatal doctor exams, a childbirth scene, discussion of abortion, and a pregnant 12-year-old.
What's the story?
In The Battle of Jericho, Josh dies in a hazing accident. Now his girlfriend, 16-year-old November, is pregnant with his baby. The story follows the course of her pregnancy, and of November and her friends coming to terms with Josh's death.
Is it any good?
This sequel to The Battle of Jericho can be read on its own -- it's much better than its predecessor. Author Sharon Draper's attempts at teen dialect are still embarrassingly awkward (she should just delete from her author's lexicon "she's all that and a bag of chips" right now), but they are less intrusive here, and more than balanced by a much more real and believable story.
That story also has a powerful emotional center that the previous book lacked. Draper clearly gets girls much better than boys, and from the moment that November's contractions begin, the web of relationships that has been carefully built up from the start comes to the forefront, and makes the rest of the book breathtakingly moving. The ending is unresolved, which may mean the author plans another book. But even if not, the refusal to tie everything up neatly was still the right way to go.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about this book being part of a series. Did you know that it is the sequel to The Battle of Jericho? Do you plan to read Just Another Hero, which focuses on a despised character from the other two books?
What is rewarding about reading a series? What might be fun about writing one? Why are publishers interested in printing them?
This book won the Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. This award is given recognize African-American authors and illustrators. Looking at the list of previous winners, are there other books you'd like to read? Why is an award like this important?
Does it make any difference to you if a book has won an award? Do you think it makes a difference to schools or libraries, as they make decisions about what to add to the collection?