Opening session with Julie Andrews was followed by my book talking session yesterday morning at TLA. I am always surprised to see hundreds of librarians who want to hear about new books. Despite technical difficulties, the session went well and we headed off to exhibits. Came back to the room fairly early last night and had the chance to read POISON IVY by Amy Goldman Koss. Subtitled THREE BULLIES, TWO BOYFRIENDS, AND ONE TRIAL, this is the story of Ivy, a hapless girl who is the target of a trio of bully girls, Ann Sophie and Benita. Ms. Gold, their histor teacher decides to instruct her class about the legal system by having a trial accusing the Terrible Trio of bullying. Kids are selected at random to participate and the trial gets underway with not one kid excited about the prospect.
What saves this book from being a "lesson" book lies in a couple of factors. First, Koss tells the story from multiple perspectives. Each student who talks about the various phases of the trial is a microcosm of some typical middle school kid: jock, nerd, clown, etc. Another highlight is that the characters are more rounded than normally one would expect in a novel with multiple perspectives. Add to this mix a few unexpected twists, and this becomes an interesting book to share with students. I think the book will need some talking since the cover might not attract readers. However, it was an easy and enjoyable read.