Bradley Chalkers tells the most lies in the entire fifth grade. If you don't believe me, you can call his teacher. When new kid Jeff moves to town, it looks like Bradley might have a friend at last - and if he has a friend, maybe he'll even figure out a way to get one of his teacher's gold stars. But things aren't that easy, are they? It will take the help of Carla, the school's counselor, to get Bradley to talk about his fears and what he wants - and when she does, everything could change.
When I read this book, I was just so thoroughly charmed by the language, the story, and the characters. At first Bradley didn't seem like a character that I wanted to spend a whole book with, but only a few chapters in I could see how complex this character was: there's the Bradley in class, Bradley with Jeff, Bradley with his parents, and Bradley in the sanctuary of his room, where he is free to talk with his animal figurines. There's just such an honesty in this book - the senselessness of bullying, the question of who is really bullying who, the cliqueishness of elementary school and the fear of trying your best and still not being good enough. Many of the covers of this book will look a little dated, but don't let that prevent you from picking up this book.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Schooled by Gordan Korman
The Manny Files by Christian Burch
Dodger for President by Jordan Sonnenblick
Bettina Valentino and the Picasso Club by Niki Daly
Pieces of Georgia by Jennifer Bryant
The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger