Thursday, June 07, 2007

If A Tree Falls at Lunch Period

"This is lame but I'm actually looking forward to school this year, because every day this summer was like crap: dog crap, cat crap -- I even had a few elephant crap days. Trust me, it was bad."
Kirsten's had a rough summer. Best friend Rory is away in Maui, and Kirsten's parents have been fighting, fighting, fighting. In the midst of all of this, Kirsten has managed to put on 30 pounds. She can't wait to get back to Mountain and get back to normal.

But what is normal, anyway?

For Walk, this is his first year at Mountain. Before that, he went to City. When he took his test at Mountain School, they paired him up with Matteo. They ended up being friends, but sometimes Walk wishes Matteo was black instead of Mexican. Walk doesn't like being the only black kid in his grade. Walk is amazed when he notices that Matteo shuts down every time that uber rich Brianna has anything to say to him.

What can Walk and Kirsten possibly have in common? More than you think.

Told in alternating chapters, the stories of these two kids weaves about and intersects. Interestingly, Choldenko has Kirsten's story in first person, and Walk's in third. This is a powerful tool, and I can only speculate on what she was trying to do with this. To me, it speaks to privledge. Of course, rich, white Kirsten gets to tell her own story, where African American Walk who has just entered to tony world of private school has his story told. Maybe I am way off base, but everytime I started one of Walk's chapters I had to pause and get my bearings. Hmm.

I was lucky enough to attend a luncheon with Gennifer Choldenko during Book Expo, and she let us know where this story came from. The frightening amount of racism that gets couched in class priviledge is astounding.

This is a quick read that would make for some amazing classroom discussions about social justice, racism, and classism.

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