Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book 49 - The Cruisers by Walter Dean Myers - Harlem, New York

Zander Scott and his friends LaShonda, Bobbi, and Kambui are students at . Da Vinci Academy for the Gifted and Talented, one of the best schools in Harlem. They are in a tricky situation,  their grades are slipping, and Mr. Culpepper, the assistant principal, is ready to be rid of them. When the school starts a unit on the Civil War, and Mr. Culpepper splits students into Union and Confederate sympathizers, Zander and his crew are given a charge—to negotiate a peace between both sides before the war actually breaks out.

That’s when Zander and his friends come up with the idea to launch an alternative school newspaper called The Cruiser. The students realize that they have incredible ability to influence their peers through the newspaper. They also discover that their opponents can also publish their views and opinions. In trying to avoid an actual conflict, a war of words breaks out which stretches these talented young people to the limit.

Acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers delivers the first in a four-book series. The unlikely heroes are the talented and gifted students, The Cruisers. He uses this book to encourage his readers to consider what democracy and free speech is all about. Below is a link to Scholastic's study guide on this book. I imagine this would be popular with students from the USA who actually do study these historic events in some detail.