I’ve been featuring many books the past few months with boy protagonists. It’s not by chance as last September a parent in my neighborhood said ” I can’t find many realistic, modern day middle grade books with boy narrators.
Not a problem anymore as she has tracked down copies of…
But wait, I have one more to share. An important story about a boy who can’t pronounce his R’s. It doesn’t hit the shelves until next month (1/18) but I couldn’t wait to share.
Twelve-year-old Rory Mitchell is bullied because he has trouble with R’s and struggles with his own name. When a former friend sustains a brain injury and joins Rory in speech therapy, the two bond over heavy metal music and Muhammad Ali, and inspire each other to achieve what once seemed impossible.
Rory is one of those voices you will remember for a long time. Sixth grade and middle school can’t get much worse when a bully constantly mimics and makes fun of the way Rory talks. His former best friend avoids him all because of a big fight they had the previous spring. Brent pals around with the bully now.
Rory avoids speaking in class so not to bring attention to himself. Even when Brent has a bicycle accident with a car and sustains a serious, life changing head injury, Rory can’t feel much sympathy the way Brent has treated him.
Fortunately there is hope with the important adults Rory is lucky to have. First are the parents. They aren’t absent, divorced, or dead. They truly want the best of their son. The talks each of them have with Rory are special but also awkward.
A close second is Mr. Simms. He’s Rory’s middle school speech therapist. He tries everything to help Rory and becomes a true friend. His fun approach using music and insights from a famous boxer are beginning to work. There’s nothing easy about the process and the final pages lead up to a shared oral presentation Rory must give in front of the entire grade. Making things worse is he is paired up with Brent, who is still doing his own healing.
Heartfelt and truly one of my favorites for 2022!
PAGE COUNT: 240
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT–THE WAY I SAY IT by Nancy Tandon.
- I’ve grown a bit tired of bullies in stories, but you’ll cringe every time Danny, the bully, enters a scene. He’s one of the worst characters and making him so obnoxious is the mark of a writer who understands character development.
- A small crush Rory has with a girl was realistically portrayed and it’s what happens in middle school. Exchanging notes and hesitant conversations show just how difficult this girl/boy stuff can be.
- Learning about Muhammad Ali and the road blocks he faced was a plus. It helped Rory see his own problem in a different way.
- I never had a problem with my r’s, but I learned a lot about how difficult they can be for someone like Rory. The author also adds informative and insightful notes about the R sound in the back pages.
- Friendships is the real focus and I loved the great ending.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nancy Tandon has worked as an elementary school teacher, a speech-language pathologist, and an adjunct professor of phonetics and child language development. This is her first book. for more visit www.nancytandon.com
Happy Holidays to one and all!