Yesterday finished reading this young adult book named “School Spirit” by Johanna Hurwitz, illustrated by Karen Dugan.
Students were shocked at the news that their school Edison-Armstrong Elementary School was proposed to be closed forever by the school board. Julio Sanchez, a 5th grade class present stood out to protect their school from being closed. Together with his friends Lucas Cott, Cricket Kaufman, Zoe Mitchell, and many other classmates and other grades’ presents, Julio organized a team and proposed a lot of good ideas to show their school spirit. They also presented their determination with a series of actions, like writing a school song, presentation on the school history, designing yellow T-shirts with words “Keep the lights on at Edison-Armstrong School” on them, and inviting elderly people to tell school history, etc. . Of course, at the end, they won a big victory: the school board finally decided to keep the school open.
The kids’ protecting their school was the main reference line of the book. Along the line, three interesting stories were told as well.
The first one was that Julio forgot to bring his key and was locked outside. Worrying his grandmother was dying in the house, Julio climbed into his living room through the window. It amusingly turned out that his grandmother was just taking a nap.
The second one was that Julio thought hard and got a great idea for a present for his brother Nelson’s birthday – a camera. Nelson loved the present very much and he took photos everywhere and for everybody. One of the photos about Lucas’ twin brothers taken by Nelson was used as a poster at school Christmas party.
The third one was that when Julio and Lucas played imaginary basketball, Julio accidently triggered the fire alarm. The boys were frightened and they finally confessed to the school principle.
One of the key persons was Jennifer Harper, a sixth grade class president. She was with very high energy, a lot of ability, but very bossy in the eyes of Julio. She took over the project completely from Julio. At the end, she took all the credit on the student part for the movement to keep Edison-Armstrong School open. Julio felt pretty upset about this. However, Mr. Flores recognized Julio’s leadership, school spirit, and initiative, and he praised Julio which comforted Julio.
For me, these stories aside the main line seems distracting, and they don’t contribute much to the subject. The reaction of Julio to Jennifer was pretty negative. Julio called her big cheese. I am not sure why the author put this character in the book. What the author want to tell us about Jennifer and the reaction of Julio?
If you want to buy the book, here is the Amazon link: School Spirit.