Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Kids Can Have Bad Records

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key
by Jack Gantos
National Book Award finalist 1998

Joey Pigza is a good kid. This is apparent to his teachers, but often obscured by his uncontrolled ADHD. When he accidentally injures another student, however, the school can no longer stand idly by; Joey must be sent to the local special education center until he can keep his disorder properly checked.

While some of the handling of ADHD is a bit dated now (given that there are more treatment options than Ritalin), this is still a fabulous book on the issue. Mr. Gantos writes in a first-person, almost stream-of-consciousness style to emulate Joey's thought processes, which provides great insight into the mind of a young boy with this disorder. Joey himself also learns tolerance for those with mental and physical disabilities through his interactions with other children at the special education center, befriending a boy with malformed arms and another who is developmentally disabled.

Those interested in continuing to follow Joey's exploits should check out the other books in the series, starting with the next installment, Joey Pigza Loses Control.

Grade: A-

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