Julian Twerski isn’t a bully. He’s just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade–blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he’s still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can’t bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.
Inspired by Mark Goldblatt’s own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with humor and heart. This remarkably powerful story will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.
First of all, I LOVED how this story took place in 1969 and was inspired by the author’s childhood experiences. My students and I enjoyed thinking about how the events from the story might have gone down differently if they had taken place today. the opening scene was intense and hooked me right away!
Peer pressure, following your moral compass, and standing up for what your gut tells you are all issues young kids faced then and face now. This is what makes the story so relatable to kids!
Mark Goldblatt recreates his childhood using characters from his past that are unique, flawed, and funny. The plot is extremely relatable to kids no matter what year the story takes place. Some things don’t change despite the times. The internal battle with right and wrong, peer pressure, a childhood crush, telling the truth, and running your fastest… these are things that survive the times. The generations to come will no doubt face the same challenges. I guess the important thing is how you react to the challenges in life that define who you really are. A highly enjoyable read!