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Armstrong & Charlie

By: Steven B. Frank

Charlie isn't looking forward to sixth grade. If he starts sixth grade, chances are he'll finish it. And when he does, he'll grow older than the brother he recently lost.

ISBN: 9780544826083

JLG Release: Jun 2017


Sensitive Areas: Violence: Gun Violence, Language: Mild Language, Violence: Mild Violence, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Violence: Cruelty to Animals
Topics: Race relations , Best friends , Friendship , School integration , Schools , African Americans , Jews , Twentieth-century U ,S , history , Social issues , Prejudice and racism , People and places , Family , Los Angeles, California

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Awards & Honors

Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Awards 2019 Nominee ALSC Notable Children’s Books 2018, Older
VOYA’s Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2017
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Middle Grade
New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2017

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

This story of an unlikely friendship alternates between the points of view of two boys from disparate backgrounds in 1970s Los Angeles. Charlie, who is Jewish, lives with his parents in a big home in the Hollywood Hills, where they are still mourning the death of his older brother. Armstrong, who is African American, lives with his parents and his This story of an unlikely friendship alternates between the points of view of two boys from disparate backgrounds in 1970s Los Angeles. Charlie, who is Jewish, lives with his parents in a big home in the Hollywood Hills, where they are still mourning the death of his older brother. Armstrong, who is African American, lives with his parents and his sisters in an apartment building in South Central. Because of “Opportunity Busing” for Armstrong, both are starting sixth grade at Wonderland in Laurel Canyon. In spite of their differences and a rocky beginning, Charlie and Armstrong become good friends throughout the course of the school year. Together they confront racism, grief, and bullying. Strong language (including the use of racial slurs and sexist terms) and references to naked girls and French kissing make this a selection best suited for mature middle graders. VERDICT This uplifting and touching exploration of friendship, with a vivid setting, is a solid addition to most middle school libraries.—Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Brighton District Library, Brighton, MI

Horn Book

In 1970s Laurel Canyon, Charlie is starting sixth grade friendless at Wonderland Avenue School, as his former classmates’ parents have deemed the school “going downhill” and have sent their kids elsewhere. Armstrong, another sixth grader, has his own feelings about a school with the silly name “Wonderland,” as he and o In 1970s Laurel Canyon, Charlie is starting sixth grade friendless at Wonderland Avenue School, as his former classmates’ parents have deemed the school “going downhill” and have sent their kids elsewhere. Armstrong, another sixth grader, has his own feelings about a school with the silly name “Wonderland,” as he and other black students are rerouted there for “opportunity busing.” Charlie and Armstrong immediately clash, but are forced to interact whenever an altercation occurs, as when Armstrong steals Hostess Ho Hos out of Charlie’s lunchbox because his parents can’t, or won’t, buy them. As the school year goes on, the boys realize that Charlie, who is Jewish, sometimes feels like an outsider just as Armstrong does as the new black kid, and their families both have emotional scars that are still healing. A somewhat conventional and well-worn plot—but Frank keeps it mainly stereotype-free. Complex, believable relationships with adults abound, from the racist teacher who humiliates Armstrong every chance he gets, to the yard teacher who writes up playground incidents for school records, to Mr. Khalil, an elderly man who mentors Armstrong. Armstrong and Charlie are endearing and layered protagonists worth cheering for. sarah hannah gómez

Book Details

ISBN

9780544826083

First Release

June 2017

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

304

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.1; Points: 8;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 3.7; Points: 15;

Lexile

Level 630L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Violence: Gun Violence, Language: Mild Language, Violence: Mild Violence, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism, Violence: Cruelty to Animals

Topics

Race relations, Best friends, Friendship, School integration, Schools, African Americans, Jews, Twentieth-century U,S, history, Social issues, Prejudice and racism, People and places, Family, Los Angeles, California,

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