Thursday, January 18, 2018

#tbt: Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick. 273 p. Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., 2005. 9780439755191. (Own)

This one's near and dear to my heart. Not only is it one of my all-time faves, it's my go-to book for students who love sad books and students who love funny ones, as well as students who say they hate sad books. In 2005, the eighth grade LA teacher at my last school read Drums and told me it was a must-read. I read it, and totally agreed. We also agreed that her classes needed to read the book and we needed to arrange for Jordan to visit our school for a day. These were done and his visit was a smashing success. Students loved the book (especially boys who didn't like sad) and they really appreciated meeting Jordan. As a former LA teacher, he gets middle schoolers and knows how to tell a good story. (Believe me, not all visiting authors can keep the attention of middle school students.) He still does school visits. Check out the information here.

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie was originally published by a small company, DayBlue Publishing. Unfortunately, it went out of business shortly after Drums debuted. Luckily, Drums was bought by Scholastic, where Jordan has gone on to publish six (by my count) more books. He published four books with Feiwel & Friends-a three-book middle grade series beginning with Dodger and Me and a YA book set during Woodstock, Are You Experienced?

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie has been named to quite a few State Award lists as well as the YALSA's Best Picks list. In 2010, a companion novel, After Ever After was published. That won a Schneider Family Book Award among other honors. I still cry whenever I reread this one.

Drums opens at Steven Alper's eighth grade graduation. As he sits on stage, he reflects on the previous year. His pesky five-year-old brother, Jeffrey was diagnosed with leukemia early in the school year and Steven was basically on his own to muddle through. At turns heartbreaking and hysterically funny, readers ride an emotional rollercoaster right beside Steven. This is the rare book that is a successful whole-class read. Many students go on to read the rest of Jordan's books.

Here are a few more covers. The original cover is on the right.


1 comment:

  1. As someone who walked through the whole diagnosis/treatment process with a child, I was floored at how accurate everything was. I mean, down to the exact words doctors said to us at times! I was even more impressed when I found out Sonnenblick hadn't personally experienced it himself. I hand sell this to kids as "the funniest book I have ever read about a kid with leukemia." They frown at me and say, "Miss, that's messed up!" even as they are reaching out for it. I neglect to tell them that Sonnenblick has also made me ugly cry in really inconvenient places, like the doctor's waiting room.