If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I absolutely adore Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. The Lexile level is 920, but is not filled with overly complex language that will engage students who might not quite be at the listed reading level. Jack is such a likable young man, who exudes an "all boy" personality and has a WILD imagination. His personal quirk is that his nose bleeds whenever he gets upset or excited...always at the wrong time!
Summary from the book jacket:
Being grounded has never been so deadly! Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt portrays an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is "grounded for life" by his feuding parents. But plenty of adventure is coming Jack's way once his mother loans him out to help a feisty old neighbor with an unusual activity involving the newly dead and the long departed...a motorcycle gang and a man on trike... as well as twisted promises and possibly MURDER! Endlessly surprising, the achingly funny New York Times bestseller depicts growing up in an off-kilter place haunted by its amazing past.As a literacy teacher, the use of descriptive and figurative language to draw the reader is exemplary and I have laughed out loud more times than I can count. The part in the beginning of the book that will hook our readers describes Jack's first visit to Miss Volkler's house where sits at the kitchen table and watches her put her hands in a pot. Jack thinks that she is boiling her hands off, where in fact, she has arthritis and has soaked her hands in paraffin wax to help her fingers relax. Jack passed out because he thought Miss Volker showed him her melted off hands and OF COURSE he had a bloody nose all over his shirt!
Our sixth grade teachers are using this book as their next universal text. Our main "I can" statements/focus areas are below.
Read this book ~ you will be delighted!