Scrawl by Mark Shulman

New York:  Roaring Brook Press, 2010.

234 pages   Grades 5-8

Scrawl gives Tod Munn a compelling and very real voice  of an 8th grader heading down the wrong path.  The book starts off with Tod in detention hall where the guidance counselor has him writing in a notebook for the entire detention time; while his partners in crime are outside with the janitor picking up trash.  Tod is given no direction on what to write only that he has to write the entire time.  Tod sees himself as a first class loser but he is able to see that he has a lot more going for him than his friends.  Tod is smart, he won the school wide spelling bee (sort of), he gets great grades and loves to read.  But there are a lot of factors working against Tod a poor home life, friends that have a lot of bad habits and school that is less than accepting of someone who is different.  Mrs. W, the guidance counselor, sees something in Tod that is redeeming and has given this detention for a reason.  We don’t know what the crime was but Tod gives us hints throughout the book and this keeps the reader riveted to his journal.  You have an opportunity to get into the head of a bully and why he does what he does.  A great read! 



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