Monday, May 04, 2020

Kent State

Wiles, Deborah. Kent State
April 21st 2020 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss

This is a well-researched and interestingly written novel. I was looking forward to it because I was living in Kent on May 4, 1970 and have thought this topic was ripe for middle grade coverage.

Sadly, this is more of a high school book. There are a few f-bombs, but it is the format that is really stopping me from buying it. It's told in short snippets from various view points, rather like a Greek chorus. Many view points are represented this way, and there are excellent notes at the beginning, but my students, who really know nothing about the event, will most likely struggle with understanding what is going on. Not all, of course, but it's gotten to the point where a lot of my students struggle with Matt Christopher. This would be a stretch.

I would definitely buy this for a high school library, and have recommended it to our three high school librarians. In the current climate of political activism, it is an important book. If you have a middle school library, however, I would take a look at it. Wiles has done a lot of middle grade books, but don't purchase this one without investigating whether or not it is a good fit for your students.
Ms. Yingling

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