Jane Yolen spotlights the beginning of an Olympic dream; Jaime Adoff offers the music of a young poet facing rough streets; Barbara Robinson captures the tenderness between a boy and a most unusual pet; Ron Koertge explores the weird world where guys and girls meet. From futuristic to familiar to far-out, the voices of clever, hopeful, courageous young men shine in this eclectic celebration of boys on the verge.
Gr. 4-7. These 18 original stories, plays, and poems by prizewinning writers range from entertaining to challenging and offer an array of characters and experiences. In Bill C. Davis' intimate, thought-provoking "Family Meeting," a boy whose stepbrother committed suicide discovers the value of life. Jamie Adoff's "Twelve" is a rap poem about experiencing violence but still retaining hope. Jose Cruz Gonzalez's play Watermelon Kisses is an amusing, credible portrayal of brotherly love and squabbles. The selections, which include many well-written gems, will resonate with and also amuse middle-grade boys, who are in the midst of conquering fears, establishing relationships with girls, and facing various ethical dilemmas as they struggle to grow up. Short author biographies, which note the author's inspiration for the story, are appended. For slightly older readers suggest Guys Write for Guys Read (2005), edited by Jon Scieszka, or My Dad's a Punk (2006), edited by Tony Bradman. Shelle Rosenfeld
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