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If a Tree Falls At Lunch Period – Review

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If a Tree Falls During Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko

Age: 10+

Kristin is your average 12-year old girl, concered about her weight, her looks and her friendships at a school were the academic competition is high and the popularity race is never ending. Walker made into the school through scholorships is trying hard to excel at a school where he is the only African American boy in his grade. As Walker and Kristin try to nagivate their lives through seventh grade, Kristin stumbles upon a secret that could change their lives forever.

Fans of Gennifer Choldenki’s historical Al Capone books will appreciate this contemporary tale of 12 year-olds struggling with their identities at an upper class private school in San Francisco, CA. Each chapter is told through the perspective of either Kristin or Walker. Each child has their own set of insecurities, worries and confidences. At the beginning of seventh grade Kristin’s best friend just leaves her to go hang out with the popular yet mean girl crowd. Kristin struggles with weight issues which her parents only worsens with their constant battles at home. Only Walker is a stable and reliable anchor in her otherwise topsy-turvy life. Walker is struggling to do well in school while living with his single mother in the slums of San Francisco.

Choldenko raises many issues in this book. Issues on; body image, racism, prejudice and friendship. Her characters are not heroes, they are normal seventh graders trying to figure things out. The major themes of racism are subtle and eloquently paced throughout the book through the conversations and the actions of the kids, which most likely mirrors what they hear at home from their parents. Most kids will be drawn to Kristen and Walker as identifyable characters. Kristin has her flaws, but is a good person with a big heart. Walker is smart, level-headed and is trying hard to succeed in a very white world.

If a Tree Falls At Lunch Period 
by Gennifer Choldenko
Houghton MIfflin Harcourt, 2007
ISBN 97801520066444
216 pages


Find this book at your local library


Other books by Gennifer Choldenko

Al Capone Does My Shirts – Review

Al Capone Shines My Shoes – Review