Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Sensitive Book on a Sensitive Topic

Totally Joe Totally Joe by James Howe

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is awesome! And I found it entirely by accident. I picked up a bunch of new books in my library, and recognizing the author as the "Bunnicula" author, grabbed this one. This book is VERY different, and deals with a much-needed, though sensitive, topic. Joe is in 7th grade and his teacher has assigned a year-long writing project -- an alphabiography. For each letter of the alpabet, Joe has to write about himself. Early in the alphabet, we learn that when Joe was little, he preferred Barbies to GI Joes, and hated the trucks his grandparents gave him. We soon learn that Joe has always known he's different, and in fact, he knows that he is gay. As he writes in his diary/alphabiography he's always been attracted to guys, loves E.T., thinks Keanu Reeves is hot, and has a crush on another 7th grade boy who likes him back. Joe is not afraid to be "different" but he is picked on and most of his classmates know, at least on some level, that Joe is gay. His boyfriend also knows he's gay, but unlike Joe doesn't have a supportive family to lean on. I like the way the subject is dealt with -- with great sensitivity and honesty. I would love to find a way to teach with this book. I am glad it's available in the library.

View all my reviews.


Panhandle Jane said...

Doesn't the alphabiography sound like a neat idea for an assignment?

Jennifer said...

The concept and the senstive tratment of a challenging topic sound great. Off to put it on my list....thanks!

bunnits said...

Thanks so much for the award. I really appreciate it. I'll have to get myself together and make time for giving out some awards--and some time for a new blog entry.

I really enjoy your blog and especially like your book reviews and comments. When my kids were doing their reading assignments in middle school, I found there was a whole new world of great literature out there that I had been missing (Walk Two Moons became one of my favorites). It was also fun to be able to discuss their assignments with them. I think they enjoyed it as much as I did. I've continued to read teen and young adult literature because there is so much great stuff out there.