I just finished reading Lisa Graff's second novel, THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF BERNETTA WALLFLOWER. The funny thing is that at the same time, I am reading aloud THE THING ABOUT GEORGIE to my class at school. (They are loving it--there is so much to talk and think about. It is an engaging story and Graff has a way of creating the perfect amount of depth for upper elementary readers--not an easy thing to do!)
I am picky about my read alouds. With 9 months of school, we only get through about 9-10 books a year. So, I have to be very picky. When I read THE THING ABOUT GEORGIE last year, I knew it would make a great read aloud. I have the same feelings after finishing THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF BERNETTA WALLFLOWER.
The book is great for lots of reasons. It is a fun read--the plot is totally different from other books for kids this age. Bernetta has been set up by her best friend Ashley. The consequence is that Bernetta won't be able to attend the private school she has attended since Kindergarten anymore. She just doesn't have the $9000 to attend. But she comes up with a scheme to make the money and the adventures begin.
This book would make a good read aloud for lots of reasons:
1. The plot is fun and will keep kids engaged.
2. There is a strong girl character, which is always good.
3. This is a book with a strong girl character that I think boys will also enjoy. The male characters and the plot will keep boys engaged. It is sometimes hard to find books with girl characters that boys will stick with, but this one will appeal to boys and girls.
4. There is lots to talk about as Bernetta makes the decisions that she does, decides about right and wrong, and learns about who she is.
5. Lisa Graff writes a great ending--ties things up in a way that works for this age group.
There are lots more reasons but these are my top 5 of the moment. I have many others because I LOVE this book!
I can't wait to see what Lisa Graff does next! (By the way, she has a very fun website and blog--well worth checking out! It would also be well worth your while to check out the Lisa Graff interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast....and the one at Mother Reader...and the one at Miss Erin.