Monday, October 6, 2014

Handbook for Boys: Book Club Reflection One

In this video chat Heather, Krista, and I discussed several topics regarding Handbook for Boys by Walter Dean Myers. It wasn't easy to come up with exactly what to all about in the video chat, and I think it would be more helpful if we had more specific questions to focus on.

Initial Reactions: We all agreed that this book was an easy read probably best suited for 5th and 6th graders. I think it would be amazing for inner city kids who could really relate to the characters in this novel. I honestly would love to use this in my classroom if possible.

Setting: Present day Harlem

Character Discussion: 
Jimmy is a 16 year old from Harlem who got into a fight and was almost sent to juvey for it. Instead, Duke takes him in to work at his barbershop. Jimmy is the generic adolescent from an inner city. He thinks to survive and has a laid back attitude about life, but we suspect that this will change the more time he spends with Duke.

Duke is a 68 year old barber in Harlem and Jimmy's mentor. When his wife passed away a few years ago he decided to sell he store and use the money to send some boys off to college. He is wise and knows a lot about life. I assumed that he has some form of education since he knows about the philosopher Descartes.

Kevin is Duke's other mentoree. He is the president of a bunch of clubs and does well in school. He only got in trouble because his mom got him arrested for possession of  marijuana. He is very different from Jimmy to the point where he doesn't even seem like he's from the inner city. I assume that his parents are probably very overprotective.

Cap is Duke's friend who hangs out at the barber shop and has the mentality of a pessimist. He thinks everyone's life is going down the tubes.

Mister M is a Hispanic immigrant who we don't know much about yet. But according to Heather we learn a lot more about him in the next chapter

Jimmy's Mother is a single mother and waitress who has the same 'we-can't-change-things' attitude that Duke is trying to get out of Jimmy

Jimmy's father is a character that we haven't met. His parents are divorced and his dad lives in New Jersey, yet he never sees him.

Author reflection: Walter Dean Myers comes from a similar background as his characters and wishes he had someone like Duke in his life. He has written other similar books like Monster.

Predictions: Jimmy's character will mature strongly and begin to want to make something of himself.
Duke went to college (I actually already know this is true since Heather read ahead).
Kevin's parents are overprotective.
We may meet Jimmy's dad.

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