Myers's ( Brown Angels ; Scorpions ) lively and uplifting novel focuses on a struggling middle-school student who finds a way to turn his life around. In a last-ditch attempt to prevent the principal from calling his parents (``and maybe even suggesting they try another school for you''), Darnell Rock joins the school paper. He is skeptical about his first assignments, but then he finds an interviewee he can get excited about--Sweeby Jones, a local homeless man whom Darnell's father knew in Vietnam. When Darnell writes an editorial to suggest that the school turn a parking lot into a garden so that homeless people can grow food there, he attracts the attention of the local press and, ultimately, spurs a debate in the city council (the proposal is defeated, but another garden is established). Darnell's language and internal thoughts are wonderfully colloquial, and his rapport with twin sister Tamika is right on target. Myers also effectively weaves in a parallel between Darnell's efforts to understand Sweeby's homelessness and his own efforts in English class to understand The Old Man and the Sea . An optimistic--and realistic--portrayal of a boy learning to live by his convictions. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994 Release date: 08/01/1994 Genre: Children's
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