The Tuesday Cafe.
Grades 6 - 9 / Ages 11 - 14.
The book opens with 15 year old Harper Winslow in court charged with setting a fire in his high school. When the judge sentences him to write an essay entitled "How I Plan to Turn My Life Around" as part of his punishment, his mother signs him up for an evening writing class called The Tuesday Cafe. What Mrs. Winslow does not realize is that "...the Tuesday Cafe is a writing class geared towards adults with special needs, learning disablities, or those wanting to improve their literacy skills."
Surprisingly, Harper, who has felt ignored by his super successful and busy parents, comes to feel at home in the class of adults, most of whom would be considered failures by society. At each class the students were expected to share their writing with the rest of the class. When Harper very reluctantly reads aloud what he had written during the first class, for one of the first times in his life people really seemed interested in what he had to say and praised something he had done.
The remainder of the book describes the month Harper has to spend working on his essay for the judge. It details his experiences with his classmates in The Tuesday Cafe and his high school counsellor as well as his evolving relationship with his parents.
This is a quiet, thoughtful, well-written book which I highly recommend. Because it is a book in which nothing very exciting happens, however, it will only appeal to a limited group of readers. It should be of interest to young people who enjoy writing in particular.
Irene Gordon is a teacher-librarian at Westdale Junior High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently co-editor of the MSLA JOURNAL published by the Manitoba School Library Association.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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