The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Calvin Schwa is convinced he's invisible. And no wonder. Nobody ever seems to recognize his presence. Teachers ignore his wildly waving hand in class. Kids ignore him everywhere he goes. And then one day, Anthony "Antsy" Bonano sees him. Antsy and Calvin embark on a series of experiments that test how often Calvin is noticed. When they discover that he does seem to be a nonentity, they go into business together using his "invisibility" to earn money. One prank lands them on the bad side of "Old Man Cawley", the neighborhood curmudgeon. As a consequence, Mr. Cawley assigns both boys some unappealing jobs, including pretending to date his visiting granddaughter. This books is extremely funny, and touching at the same time. It explores several themes: belonging to a group, self-awareness, inclusivity, etc. It's also a great "coming of age" novel. Kids can relate to it on many levels -- it's a great read, but they can also connect to the various issues. I really liked it too. As a teacher and a parent, I am only too aware of how kids' notions of their invisibility can shape their outlook on life. I am definitely going to recommend it to my 6th graders!
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