Recommended for Readers
in Grades 4 and up
2016 - Diamond Willow Award Nominee
Jelly (so-called because his initials are J.A.M. and he has a best friend whose initials are P.B.) is afraid of public speaking. Terrified, you might say. So it doesn't seem like the world's best idea to compete in the sixth-grade speech contest. Victoria is campaigning hard - she is smart, self-confident, and popular. No prize could possibly be worth the guaranteed humiliation Jelly expects to suffer, until Victoria pushes things a little too far.
I really liked this book. The voices are realistic for the target age group, and it's nice to read some realistic fiction that deals with important issues like ethics, self-confidence, and bullying without being a tragedy. The bully has some depth, instead of being two-dimensional, and the main character's challenges are sincere and relatable. It's not a text to study for symbolism, but it would be a worthwhile small-group discussion book for fifth grade, and it has a wide range of appeal for many different independent readers. It's a charming story, and worth a look.
The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.
**Questions coming soon**
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