Book talks for readers at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Schooled by Gordon Korman

You know how some kids who move and start a new school in the middle of the year will probably get a student council member or someone the office thinks is responsible to escort the new kid around and help them get situated. In Schooled, by Gordon Korman, Cap Anderson is being shown around Claverage Middle School by Zach Powers, the last person that should have been showing Cap Anderson how things work at C Average Middle School.

C Average, that's what the students call it (just take the L out of Claverage and you get C Average). Zach figures since he is in 8th grade now he's earned the right to be on top of the food chain at C Average. And the new arrival appears to be fresh meat.

It didn't help that when Cap was being shown his locker, he didn't know what a combo was. It didn't help that he didn't know that he was supposed to turn those numbers left-right-left. Zach probably thought he had died and gone to heaven when Cap looked inside it and said, "It's empty."

Astonished, Zach responded, "Of course it's empty. It's your locker. It's empty until you put something in it."

Cap didn't know what to do with a locker. He asked, "What do I have to put in there?"

"How should I know? It's your stuff."

Then Cap did his thing. He said something he may have been taught to say. He said something he truly believed and maybe if it had been the 1960's it might have made sense even to Zach. He said something no other C Average Middle School student would have said in a million years:

"When we lock things away we're really imprisoning ourselves."

Zach's eyes probably popped out. This was too good to be true. He asked Cap what school he'd been to before. Like a sheep to a wolf . . . Cap said he had been homeschooled.

Immediately Zach knew what he had to do. He was going to nominate this dude for 8th grade president without telling him, make his life miserable, and have a whole lot of fun doing it. This was his year!

Or was it? Maybe there was a whole lot more to Capricorn Anderson than Zach or anyone else thought at C Average. Like Cap would say later: "When we judge others, we're really judging ourselves."

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