Parents' Guide to

The Aurora County All-Stars

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Funny, moving, thoughtful small-town life.

The Aurora County All-Stars Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 11+

One of my favorite books of all time!

This book discusses difficult themes such as death, racism, and self confidence in a way that someone as young as 11 can understand. Bringing in references from Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" the reader learns of the small town legacy of a mysterious old man. This book will make you laugh, and maybe even make you cry. Such a must-read! "After the dazzle of day is done, only the dark, dark night shows to my eyes the stars. After the clangor of organ majestic, or chorus, or perfect band, silent, athwart my soul, moves the symphony true" -Walt Whitman , Leaves of Grass

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 16+

Read a Sandy Koufax bio instead

boring. To Kill a Mockingbird Meets The Sandlot. Way over the heads of anybody under the age of 16, maybe 20. Reads as though the author was expecting it to be made into a movie.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Southern writers have an intimate and loving relationship with the English language that eludes many, and author Wiles is a modern inheritor of that proud tradition. There's a very rare and wonderful writer's trick that only a very few authors have ever been able to pull off, in which a silly and essentially meaningless (outside the book) phrase is, by the power of the writing and story, turned into something not only meaningful, but powerfully emotional. Harper Lee did it with "Hey, Boo." Patricia MacLachlan did it with "Rock, paper, scissors." And now Deborah Wiles does it with "I got a toad to swallow."

This kind of writing is a palimpsest, in which the story is just the top layer, the carrier wave, of something far richer and deeper -- in this case the haunting, aching beauty of a child struggling to grow. The story is one that most kids will love. It's funny, at times silly, with warmly delineated characters (many of whom have appeared in the author's two other novels), and some great sports action. But, in that rich, gorgeous, wisely empathetic style that it seems only Southern writers can do, this very accessible story will draw young readers in, and then carry them to a greater understanding of others, of themselves -- and of Walt Whitman.

Book Details

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