Mr. Terupt is a new teacher for the 6th grade class. Is his class excited? Not really. He has a new way of doing things and they aren’t really looking forward to breaking in a new teacher. We get to hear all about it from each of the students throughout out the book in alternating chapters. The students reveal what’s going on among their friends, at home, at school and with themselves all set against the backdrop of Mr. Terupt’s classroom. The kids learn about themselves, they learn to be strong, who they are and who they are going to become. They learn to think for themselves and to stand up for what is right and for each other.
I thought this was a wonderful book. I loved the alternating narrators; I thought that really gave the book a unique and full voice. Each of the kids had their own voice and characteristics and it was very easy to keep them straight. They all seemed like real kids with real problems too. They faced things that I think kids reading the book can identify with. I can’t wait for the next book by Mr. Buyea.
I liked the idea of the kids in this book learning by doing instead of being taught. There are some great projects in this class; projects that would definitely make school more interesting and fun. However, I do think it makes for an interesting discussion on whether the kids are given too much freedom too soon and whether Mr. Terupt should have stepped in to control some of their antics. Would that have averted tragedy? We will never know but it makes for great discussions. I feel like all the kids learn about themselves and each other in this book and they all become just a little bit better because of Mr. Terupt. Such a great lesson and a great read.
This is a 2012-13 Missouri Mark Twain Award Nominee.