Shannon Whitney Messenger created Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays to celebrate some fabulous MG books. This week I've decided to play along! :) Check out Shannon's place to see who else is playing.
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
This is a fabulous book! On the surface its a light-hearted book about a boy who's trying to find his place. On deeper levels it's about so much more: racism, kindness, friendship, courage, risk-taking, love, the power of books, and the importance of education.
Spinelli is a master at making kids laugh. The situations Maniac gets into are hilarious and daring and plain ol' fun. Maniac is a great kid who wants an address and a family to go with it. He copes with all the traumas and disasters of his life by running. When he runs into a town firmly divided into black and white, he wants to stay. Wants to belong. He doesn't 'see' the colours, doesn't understand the divisions and that helps everyone around him do the same.
My students always love this book when I read it aloud. It's full of fun and adventure. And they LOVE the messages the story contains. We have tons of conversations and they're very thankful that our world doesn't have problems like racism anymore. And yes, I teach in a school with kids from many different cultures! Don't you just love kids??? :)
What other books do you know of that deal successfully with serious topics in a light-hearted manner?