I am finishing my reading run of Prison books for middle graders. An odd topic for some but a topic that opens a new perspective for many students and adults alike. It also opens the door for students whose family setting is not what we use to call “normal.” The thing is I am not sure what a normal family is or is not.
Growing up my family life fit into the not normal range but it was very normal to me. It was a group of 4 – three kids and one adult. We lived in a small house, went to church, school, eat dinner, visited with friends. I had a hard time dealing with the idea that we were not normal. We did everything everyone else did we just didn’t have a Dad there.
In All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, by Leslie Connor, he also sees his life as normal. It is all he has ever known. He has family friends, his mom, he goes to school, and eats dinner with his family. It is just that his home is inside a prison. Not everyone sees that as normal.
Connor sets up a perfect comparison when Perry is moved out of the prison and into the home of his best friend. This new home does not seem normal to Perry. It does not have his Mom. It does not have is small bedroom or all the daily routines that he knows and loves. Perry feels as if he is now in his own Prison on the outside. His Mom is in prison and so is he. Just a prison on the outside.
As we follow Perry and his friend and now housemate, Zoey, through their school days and projects we learn more about his friends on the inside of the Prison. We learn who they really are compared to what people on the outside think of them. Connor helps us all see from a different point of view.
I have to admit I have not finished this book and am off to do so now but from where I sit now this would be a great read aloud. A book to talk about point of view, what is a family and why it is best not to assume things about the people around you.
A great read! Check it out!