Reference: Spinelli, J. (1996). Crash. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.
Brief annotation: This book tells the story of a seventh grader named John (Crash) who is the classic depiction of a hotheaded, American football player who is of course a bully. This character takes pleasure in hurting others and in being the center of attention. What he does not realize is that not everyone likes him and that those people have very good reasons for having that opinion. After almost loosing his grandfather to a stroke, he starts to take less pleasure in being a bully and by the end of the story defends and befriends the boy he has been brutally harassing since 1st grade.
Genre: Sports Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Grade level: 4.8
Interest level: Students in grades 6-8 would be interested in this book.
Personal response: The author of this book almost did too good of a job at getting inside of the mind of a young, football playing bully. The story is all too familiar and is something that students will unfortunately be able to easily relate to. I hope that readers recognize his actions as hurtful instead of cool because I would not want them to glorify this character. The end of the book does show Crash taking the better path but I hope that students can recognize why that is a better path.
Text-dependent question: What is Crashes’ gift to Penn?