The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade
August 29, 2017
In sixth grade, bad things can happen to good kids. Bullies will find your weakness and jump on it. Teachers will say you did something wrong when really didn't mean to do anything wrong. The kids who joke the loudest can drown out the quieter, nicer kids.
Maverick wants to change all that. One of the last things his father left him was a toy sheriff's badge, back when Maverick was little. Now he likes to carry it around to remind him of his dad - and also to remind him to make school a better place for everyone... even if that's a hard thing to do, especially when his own home life is falling apart.
THE SECRET SHERIFF OF SIXTH GRADE is a story about standing up for yourself - and being a hero at home and in the halls of your school.
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This is another excellent addition to the Sonnenblick cannon of serious books that are also funny. In the tradition of Zen and the Art of Faking It, Notes From the Midnight Driver, and Curveball, we are able to explore the a difficult home situation without the book slipping into horrible sadness. Maverick is an engaging, true-to-life middle school student, and the fact that he has problems at home is handled in a painfully realistic way. Principal Overby's philosophy is one I try hard to remember, and this book shows in an amusing yet sympathetic way how much better the world would be if everyone would keep that philosophy in mind.
Maverick thinks about and expresses his problems in a uniquely quirky way. His mother is described without apologies or sentimentalizing, and the aunt makes his situation less dire than it could be.
This is an excellent introduction to Sonnenblick for slightly younger readers, and will be popular with readers who enjoy tales of understanding and kindness like Palacio's Wonder and Buyea's Because of Mr. Terupt.
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