January 2017 Issue
February 01, 2017

Check it Out: Slacker

Source: NYSUT United

Slacker By Gordon Korman

Recommended by: Mindy Holland, school librarian, Mohonasen Teachers Association. President, Eastern NY School Library Media Association.

Suitable for: ages 8–14

Why I chose this book: In anticipation of an author visit from Gordon Korman, I was looking for a title that could be used for a schoolwide read. Cameron, the title character, is proud of his lifestyle choice of participating in nothing but video gaming. So engrossed in the games, he is unaware his house is on fire until the firefighters put an axe through his front door. The lesson Cam will learn is obvious, but the way Korman writes this story is unpredictable, humorous and captivating.

What I liked best: Slacker is told from multiple points of view, including a middle school guidance counselor. Cam starts a Positive Action Group on his school's website just to make his parents think he is involved in something. A girl joins to save a beaver; a boy joins to log his court-mandated community service hours; and the guidance counselor sees the PAG as his career-long wish come true. The villain is a popular high school girl, a Harvard wannabee who adds lots of laughs and drives the plot line to its magnificent conclusion.

How teachers can use this book: It's a natural choice for teaching multiple points of view, character development and the elements of realistic fiction. Short chapters and a lot of action make it a great read aloud or literature circle title.

About the author: Gordon Korman (http://gordonkorman.com) wrote his first book for a seventh-grade school assignment. He's published more than 80 books for kids. He is the recipient of the 2017 Knickerbocker Award from the New York Library Association, Section of School Librarians. His books have been translated into 32 languages.

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