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Patriotism or practical joke?
Harrison, NH -- Ninth-grade student Philip Malloy was suspended from school for singing along to The Star-Spangled Banner in his homeroom, causing what his teacher, Margaret Narwin, called "a disturbance." But was he standing up for his patriotic ideals, only to be squelched by the school system? Was Ms. Narwin simply trying to be a good teacher? Or could it all be just a misunderstanding gone bad -- very bad? What is the truth here? Can it ever be known?
Heroism, hoax, or mistake, what happened at Harrison High changes everything for everyone in ways no one -- least of all Philip -- could have ever predicted.
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Avi is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead and the Newbery Honor Books Nothing But the Truth and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. He also writes the beloved Poppy stories, an animal adventure series that includes Ragweed; Poppy, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; Poppy and Rye; Ereth's Birthday; Poppy's Return; and Poppy and Ereth. His many other critically acclaimed books include Don't You Know There's a War On?, the hilarious animal fantasy The Mayor of Central Park, and the Victorian ghost story The Seer of Shadows. Avi lives in Denver, Colorado.From School Library Journal:
Grade 6-9-- Ninth grader Philip Malloy finds himself unable to participate on the track team because of his failing grade in English. Convinced the teacher, Margaret Narwin, dislikes him, he concocts a scheme to get transferred from her homeroom: instead of standing "at respectful, silent attention" during the national anthem, Philip hums. Throughout the ensuing disciplinary problems at school, his parents take his side, ignore the fact that he is breaking a school rule, and concentrate on issues of patriotism. The conflict between Philip and his school escalates, and he quickly finds the situation out of his control; local community leaders, as well as the national news media, become involved. At this point, the novel surges forward to a heartbreaking, but totally believable, conclusion. Avi carefully sets forth the events in the story, advancing the plot through conversations between students, Philip's parents, school personnel, and community politicians, while Philip's point of view is revealed through his diary entries, and Margaret Narwin's through letters to her sister. Also enriching the narrative are copies of school memos and newspaper articles, transcripts of speeches delivered, and copies of letters received by both Philip and his teacher; each document provides another perspective on the conflict and illuminates the many themes that beg to be discussed--most notably the irony of lives destroyed because of the misuse of power and the failure of people to communicate. Admirably well crafted and thought provoking. --Ellen Fader, Westport Public Library, CT
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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