The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell

Scholastic. Feb. 2021. 224p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338647235.
Gr 3-7–In this middle grade novel inspired by true experiences, Sonnenblick recalls a year dealing with asthma, anxiety, pets, sports, and friends. The author examines everything that happened in his life during fourth grade, and how those events led him to want to be a writer. Short in stature and struggling with both breathing problems and hair-ripping anxiety, Sonnenblick is a white Jewish boy who is trying hard to be cool but also true to himself. The narrative form, along with hilarious recollections of having a pet snake, learning to play the drums, not being good at baseball, the difficulty of paying attention in school when your teacher hates you, moving to a new school, and standing up to bullies, will make readers empathize with Sonnenblick’s struggles. Hand this book to youth who like humorous, fast-paced, relatable tales. It’s hard being a child who is not in control, and Sonnenblick makes a great case for truly listening when kids speak. They are often asking for help and adults don’t always know it.
VERDICT A solid purchase for upper elementary school and middle school collections.

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