Here are just a few nuggets from the Readers' Guide I developed for the book and you'll find the whole guide here.
1. As students read or listen to this verse novel, encourage them to visualize each of the main characters and talk about what they look like and how they talk and act. Work together to draw character sketches or find magazine or web-based images that look like these characters:
- Jordan (JB) Bell
- Josh (“Filthy McNasty”) Bell
- Dad: Chuck Bell (“Da Man”), a former professional basketball player
- Mom: Dr. Crystal Stanley-Bell, the assistant principal at the boys’ school (Reggie Lewis Junior High)
5. Several of the poems in this novel lend themselves to readers theater performance, so that students can get a sense of the characters’ voices. The following poems offer text in two parts: plain text and italicized text for two volunteers or two groups to read aloud in turn.
- “Conversation” pp.17-19
- “The game is tied” p. 36
- “Mom doesn’t like us eating out” pp. 41-42
- “The inside of Mom and Dad’s bedroom closet” pp. 44-47
- “Dad Takes Us to Krispy Kreme and Tells Us His Favorite Story (Again)” pp. 63-65
- “Mom calls me into the kitchen” pp. 96-98
- “Phone Conversation (I Sub for JB)” pp. 106-109
- “Suspension” pp. 138-141
- “I run into Dad’s room” pp. 165-167
- “School’s Out” pp. 188-189
- “Santa Claus Stops By” pp. 207-209
- “Questions” pp. 210-211
7. The author also introduces crucial vocabulary terms through twelve key poems presented at critical intervals throughout the book.
- “cross-o-ver” p. 29
- “ca-lam-i-ty” p. 38-39
- “pa-tel-la ten-di-ni-tis” pp. 48-49
- “pul-chri-tu-di-nous” p. 55
- “hy-per-ten-sion” p. 76
- “i-ron-ic” p. 104
- “tip-ping point” pp. 118-119
- “chur-lish” pp. 142-143
- “pro-fuse-ly” p. 154
- “es-tranged” p. 187
- “my-o-car-di-al in-farc-tion” p. 201-202
- “star-less” p. 229
Plus, the Readers Guide pinpoints:
- poems in rap,
- incorporates the power of nicknames,
- connects with YouTube videos of sports and music figures in the book,
- looks at the role of rules in the novel,
- showcases various forms and types of poetry that are included,
- and examines the "crossover" themes.
There is also an audiobook version of this novel in verse available. It's narrated by Corey Allen and produced by Recorded Books. Here's one more way to get kids into the book-- by listening to a pro read it aloud! It's available on CD or as a download here.
Now head on over to Irene's place, Live Your Poem, for more Poetry Friday nuggets!