The story is focused around Bradley Chalkers, a boy no one likes, not even the teachers and it isn't hard to see why. Describing him as unpleasant is an understatement. Further, he is a failure in school, not even attempting to complete his assignments. His teacher has pretty much given up. Fortunately, a young counselor at his school is not going to give up on him. With her subtle guidance, Bradley slowly changes his life. It isn't easy, but by the end of the book, he is not only starting to succeed in school (I totally tear up whenever I get to the part when he gets his first gold star) but is also making friends. Getting invited to his first birthday party since he was a little kid is a monumental acheivement.
What I love about this book is that Bradley's transition is believable. Further, because much of the story is from his POV, we as the reader develop empathy and we are truly on his side as he starts to change for the better. This would be a great book to start the year off with or to read if you a class that is having trouble getting along.
If you are looking for a Teaching Pack for this book, You can find a great one at Taking Grades.
Have you read this book? What do you think? Do you have a different favorite read aloud?