September/October 2013 Issue
September 16, 2013

Check it out - Scattered: A mostly true memoir

Author: Justine Blau
Source: NYSUT United

check it outRecommended by: Penny Prince, professor of music at Lehman College and Professional Staff Congress member.

Suitable for: Grades 7-12

Why I chose this book: Scattered is a riveting memoir of a young girl's turbulent life with a chronically homeless, delusional parent. Due to her mother's mental illness and the break up of her parent's marriage, Justine and her two older brothers live a chaotic life sleeping on park benches and at one-night hotels in New York City. Finally, Justine finds relief in a group home for children. Throughout the ordeal, she turns to books and school for comfort and affirmation.

How teachers can use this book: This book is an excellent model of the memoir format.

What I like best: This book serves as a testament to perseverance, hope and education. The writing is quite accessible.

About the author: Justine Hope Blau has written screenplays and books, including Betty Friedan: Feminist; as well as articles for Rolling Stone,, Vogue and many other publications. She earned an MFA in screenwriting from Columbia University's School of the Arts. Check her out at

"Check it Out" features books recommended to teachers and parents by school librarians and other educators. Have a recommendation? Please send suggestions, along with your name and local union, to