MIDDLE GRADE FICTION
Joseph might as well walk around wearing a target, there’s so much material for bullies. He’s ADD. Small and skinny. Clumsy. Distracted. Phobic. Also, Jewish. He starts seventh grade with very low expectations, but two things begin to rock his world. His Resource Room teacher convinces him to join the school’s new track team (he’s a terrible runner, but begins to challenge himself), and a new kid – a very athletic, confident girl, also something of a misfit, befriends him (and punches his nemesis in the face!). Joseph’s voice is authentic, funny, and moving; you’ll love hanging out with him.
-Banna— From Banna's New Recs
ALA Notable Book
“This is a splendid novel that I read in one sitting. . . . You will cheer when this kid embraces ‘Do your best’ and shows it to be a ringing call to nothing less than Triumph.” —Gary D. Schmidt, Printz Honor winner and two-time Newbery Honor winner
"Diana Harmon Asher tells an entertaining story about a boy picking his way through the potholes and pitfalls of puberty, with a little help from his friends." —Richard Peck, Newbery Medal winner
"Just read it! Diana Harmon Asher has written a witty, observant, and sensitive novel for kids, as well as a delight for the adults in their lives." —Susan Isaacs, New York Times bestselling author
If middle school were a race, Joseph Friedman wouldn’t even be in last place—he’d be on the sidelines. With an overactive mind and phobias of everything from hard-boiled eggs to gargoyles, he struggles to understand his classes, let alone his fellow classmates. So he spends most of his time avoiding school bully Charlie Kastner and hiding out in the Resource Room, a safe place for misfit kids like him.
But then, on the first day of seventh grade, two important things happen. First, his Resource Room teacher encourages (i.e., practically forces) him to join the school track team, and second, he meets Heather, a crazy-fast runner who isn’t going to be pushed around by Charlie Kastner or anybody else.
With a new friend and a new team, Joseph finds himself off the sidelines and in the race (quite literally) for the first time. Is he a good runner? Well, no, he’s terrible. But the funny thing about running is, once you're in the race, anything can happen.
About the Author
— School Library Journal
— The Horn Book
— Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
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