Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fouling Out Gets Endorsement of the Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium

Throughout the time that I worked on Fouling Out, I envisioned the novel being used as a springboard for discussion in classrooms and as a key resource for reluctant readers. "Every author thinks his book would be perfect for schools," a colleague of mine said, not meaning to offend. The comment nonetheless caught me off guard. Maybe I was too close to the work to have any objectivity.

I received word last week that ERAC (the Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium), comprised of British Columbia teachers who review novels to determine if they are suitable for use in classrooms, was recommending my book for grades six and seven. Today I was able to read the review online at the ERAC website. As I have consulted this site in the past before selecting novels for class study, I knew that some of the recommended books do not always receive glowing reviews. Thus, I paused and played with my dogs for a few minutes before reading ERAC's analysis of Fouling Out.

I am thrilled with the review! At last, a teacher review committee has confirmed what I'd hoped all along. You can read the entire review by clicking the ERAC Review link in the Book Review section at right. What follows is a portion of the review:

Recommended for Grade(s): 6, 7

Estimated readability: At Grade

Plot / Reasons for Recommendation:
Craig is an intelligent, but isolated grade seven student whose long
time friend, Tom, is the bad boy of the classroom. Tom comes from
a dysfunctional family. He is fun to be with but can also be
annoying, violent and cruel. Craig is at a stage in his life where he
is finding the friendship more of a hindrance than a help but he
can't seem to break way. When a crisis occurs and Tom runs away
from home, Craig is forced to really look at his relationship with
Tom and decide what friendship really means.

The main character in this book is funny and engaging, yet gives
the reader insights into the isolation and confusion that often
plagues adolescence. The book is especially good at portraying
the dynamics involved in cliques and groupings in classrooms.
The plot is simple, but keeps the reader's interest. The short
chapters and humourous writing make it an easy read that could
work for reluctant readers. While the main characters are young
men, the character driven nature of the book means that it may
appeal to girls as well.