JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Last year I enjoyed Tommy Greenwald’s Charlie Joe Jackson series. After hearing the premise of his newest, JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND, cover-takes-standI had to make sure it quickly arrived at the top of my TBR list. I’m glad it did. The story is told with charm through the eyes of seventh grader Jack Strong. You’ll recognize this kid as I’m sure there are a few like him in your neighborhood or school. He’s had it with all the extracurricular activities and finally does something to hopefully bring change.

Take a look at the 60 second video trailer and you’ll get a feel for the story…


FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Jack Strong just wants to be a regular kid. But his parents have overscheduled his week with every extracurricular activity under the sun: tennis, baseball, cello, karate, tutoring, and Chinese language lessons—all on top of regular homework. His parents want him to be “well-rounded” and prepared for those crucial college applications. Jack’s just about had enough.

And so, in Jack Strong Takes a Stand by Tommy Greenwald, he stages a sit-in on his couch and refuses to get up until his parents let him quit some of the extracurriculars. As Jack’s protest gains momentum, he attracts a local television host who is interested in doing a segment about him. Tensions rise as counter-protesters camp out across the street from Jack and his couch. Jack’s enjoying this newfound attention, but he’s worried that this sit-in may have gone too far.


  1. The emotional change Jack goes through as he at first is thrilled with his new life, but then begins to question whether he’s gone too far.
  2. The mind of a middle grade boy is captured beautifully. Jack has a way with words that had me laughing numerous times.
  3. The cartoon style pictures do not overwhelm the text. They fall in place when needed and are well done.
  4. The very different relationship Jack has with the three adults in his life. There’s grandma who is on his side. Dad who is totally against the strike. Meanwhile, Mom is left trying to keep the peace. This will sound familiar to many readers.
  5. The ending, and there are many endings I don’t like, but this one had me cheering all the way.


“This whole strike thing. You trying to get a girl or something?”

“I’m in middle school,” I said. “I’m always trying to get a girl.”


Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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12 Responses to JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Ooh, your #4 sounds about right. So good for a middle grade story.

  2. Akoss says:

    The second line you shared from the book got me laughing so hard I was glad I wasn’t drinking my coffee yet.
    Thanks for the feature! 🙂

  3. jennienzor says:

    I love this premise! I remember wanting to do something similar as a kid when my parents had me so overscheduled I had no time to hang out with friends. I will be checking this one out.

  4. This really sounds like a good one. I will definitely check it out. The premise is very, very real.

  5. I can see my son liking this one–not that we have him “working on the chain gang” or anything. He just likes that comfy couch with the cookies and milk.

    Thanks for featuring this one, Greg. I’ll seek it out.

  6. Barbara Watson says:

    I would read it just for what you say in #2.

  7. Susan says:

    This sounds really fun! Sounds like a plot that could lead to a great discussion within a family or class.

  8. warrchick says:

    Ohmygoodness this sounds HILARIOUS! And wow, can we all relate nowadays! I love that there are probably some great opportunities for discussion of historic sit ins and past movements for social change, as well. Thanks for making the book introduction!

  9. Pingback: Do Dads Get a Fair Look in MG Books? | Always in the Middle

  10. Pingback: Ten Favorite Summertime Middle Grade Reads | Always in the Middle

  11. Pingback: A Year of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Are You Kidding? | Always in the Middle

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