The Library Card by Jerry Spinelli
Four kids, with difference backgrounds, families and lives, come into contact with a simple blue library card that soon changes their lives and helps shape their most important decisions.
The book is broken into four section, each section devoted to one of the 4 kids. The first section is about Mongoose and Weasel. Both are slackers in school and dream of dropping out and running away. Although once Mongoose finds a library card amongst a stash of candy loot that he lifted from the grocery store, their plan to drop out and run away is no longer all that simple.
Brenda is a TV addict who has to turn off the TV for one entire week for the Great TV Turn-Off and turns to the library for comfort.
Sonseray is a troubled child who lost his mother to a drug overdose. He and his uncle are constantly moving from place to place because of Sonseray’s antics until he one days steps through the library doors.
Finally, April takes a trip on a bookmobile in a new town that soon changes her perspective on life and the people in it.
I really liked this book and I think it sends a good message to kids. I’m not just saying that because I’m a librarian. Each child faces a slew of difficulties, from peer pressure to feelings of abandonment. The stories are funny, tragic and hopeful. Lives can change when someone is presented with a different set of options. For these kids, it was a change of routine and a friendly face in an air conditioned building.
I would say this book is a good read for both boys and girls because of the three male characters in two of the sections. I think the boys will enjoy the girl chapters too, because of the content (what kid can’t relate to the torture of no TV for a week?) The themes of friendship, identity and creativity are good for the pre-teens who are just starting to discover things about themselves and are looking for a direction for development.The Library Card Jerry Spinelli Scholastic Books, 1997 ISBN 0590386336 148 pages