Monday, April 23, 2012

Book 55 - Zen and the art of faking it by Jordan Sonnenblick - Pennsylvania, USA

This book was on the School Library Journal list of books to tickle your funny bone. It is a great book for International students who can instantly relate to San Lee's desire to blend in as the new kid at school. He has had to move around quite a lot throughout his lifetime so when he ends up in "Nowheresville" Pennsylvania he observes his school mates and the social cliques like an expert anthropologist trying to figure out which group he will mostly likely fit in with. He has an awesome Humanities teacher who unnerves him instantly on the first day of class. The good news is that the class is studying religions of the world and San had covered that already in his last school. The bad news is that in answering some questions on Buddhism San unwittingly came across as some sort of Zen expert. Now he has to rush off to the town library to really study Zen Buddhism. Enter my favourite character the town librarian - at first a real stereotype but as we get to know her she has all my favourite librarian qualities and more. San finds his studies bring him new enlightenment not only about religion but also about his school, his classmates, his teacher and his own feelings about his father. 

While this was not so much a laugh out loud read, it was enjoyable. I love a book with a librarian as a complex character as well. I can recommend this to students in grades 6 - 8. Lots of fun and some useful thinking about religion, faith and friendships. 

Teenreads review by Jana Silciliano and Jordan Sonnenblick's website and Book trailer by Heidi Floyd on Animoto