I’ve been a bad blogger lately, but as I prepared for my annual “best books I’ve read this year” list, my daughter threw me a curve ball. Who out there guessed a book geared for ages 8-12 would throw my list into turmoil? A Maud Hart Lovelace Nominee–which is some Minnesota thing– my daughter spent three months trying to get this book from the library. Don’t waste your time on the wait list. BUY this book immediately, especially if you have school age children. Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea is the type of book they will want to read again and again, and chances are, so will you.
I hardy know where to begin, except to say this is a masterful work. As a writer myself, I am in awe of Buyea’s technique. Plenty of authors struggle to create two distinctive and believable narrators for their story. Buyea created seven unique fourth graders with heartbreaking authenticity. By the time the reader gets partway through October, the point of view character is obvious, even without seeing the name.
Technique is nothing without heart and Buyea writes with plenty. The seven fourth graders are part of Mr. Terupt’s class and the story follows them throughout the school year. Mr. Terupt is the type of teacher we all want our children to have — someone who inspires them and encourages them, alas to add conflict and drama, an accident occurs. It is only then, the characters truly understand what their teacher gave them.
My daughter handed the book to me and promised “you’ll cry because you’re laughing so hard and because you are sad.” Yup. I also loved how it opened communication between us. With so many different types of characters, we had lots of conversations that started about the book, but ended with both of us learning more about each other. Terrific writing entertains and builds empathy. Mr. Buyea wrote one for the ages. So whether you are a grade-schooler, the parent of a grade-schooler, a grade school teacher or someone who once had a memorable and wonderful teacher, do yourself a favor. Get this book.
Because the cute photo didn’t want to work, here’s a link to the book on Amazon.