Schooled by Gordon Korman

SchooledCapricorn Anderson is a 13-year-old homeschooled kid from an alternative farm commune. The commune was comprised of several families in the old days, but now there’s only Cap and his 67-year-old grandmother, Rain. That’s the problem. Rain breaks her hip and is hospitalized. Cap needs to go to temporary foster care and public school. Imagine a kid like Cap, with his long, un-groomed hair, hippie beads, hemp clothes, cornhusk sandals, tai chi practice out on the lawn, no familiarity with television, telephones, school lockers, lunchrooms, pizzas, and more, showing up at your middle school all of a sudden. He becomes an immediate target of derision. Zach Powers is “Mr. Popularity” and sets up Cap to become 8th grade class president — a position always awarded the biggest nerd so that he’d be a school-year-long center of ridicule. All this sounds depressing and sad, but Cap, in his own unique way and his own unique personality comes through smelling like roses. There is humor and sweetness, touching moments, and admiration for a misfit who stands strong for his values. You’ll also find meanness, bullying, cliques, kids judging others by superficial standards, etc., which all makes for good discussion. The ending is a bit of a stretch — that’s why they call it ‘fiction’ — but this is a good story, well-written by an author familiar to kids, and my bet is all will enjoy meeting the unusual and one-of-a-kind Cap Anderson.

Posted by: Fran D.

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