December 2010 Issue
November 22, 2010

Check it Out: Marcelo in the Real World

Source: NYSUT United

By Francisco X. Stork

Recommended by: Sari Grandstaff, a member of the Saugerties Teachers Association.

Suitable for: Grade 11

Why I chose it: It is the summer between 11th and 12th grades for Marcelo, a student with a cognitive disorder similar to Asperger's Syndrome. He was looking forward to a summer job working in the horse stables at the special school he attends. Marcelo's dad wants him to work in the mailroom at his high-powered law firm. While working there, Marcelo stumbles upon some information that tests his perceptions of his father. Can Marcelo cut it in the so-called "real world?" 

How teachers can use this book: Stork's story lends itself to classroom discussion about hypocrisy in society. In some ways, Marcelo's journey parallels the life of Siddartha Gautama, founder of the Buddhist philosophy.

Teachers could use this as a companion book to Siddartha by Herman Hesse.

What I like best: I recommend this title to students and educators who enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Both books are told from the point of view of a teenager on the autism spectrum.

Check It Out features books recommended to teachers & parents by school librarians.