middle school book was simply a good read. A white boy and a black
boy… learning they really weren’t so different after all. A good
book for middle schoolers (and their older siblings or parents too!).
Armstrong isn’t looking forward to sixth
grade, either. His parents have signed him up for Opportunity Busing to a
white school in the Hollywood Hill.
So from September to June, arms will wrestle, fists will fly,
and bottles will spin. There’ll be Ho Hos spiked with hot sauce,
sleepovers, boy talk about girls, and a little guidance from the stars.
Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Armstrong and Charlie is the
hilarious, heartwarming tale of two boys from opposite worlds,
Different, yet the same.
I have to admit, it took me a while to cotton to the fact that the story jumped back and forth between Charlie and Armstrong’s stories. But once I did it worked.
Seeing the thoughts of two sixth grade boys as they work through not only sixth grade and all that means, but through integration of blacks and whites in the same school. Armstrong being one of the children bused into a predominately white school. Charlie having to deal with his school friends abandoning his integrated school for the security of all white schools.
It’s a neat book where two boys had to work through a variety of challenges… involving fights and ho ho’s and misunderstandings, and then… a sleepover in which they discovered… they are both boys and aren’t as different as they thought they might be.
That doesn’t mean the challenges stopped, it just means they changed. Through it all, lessons are learned and friendships are forged and change happened.
My suggestion: This is a good, enjoyable read. Could easily make the type of book to do a report on and be good for conversation starters. NOTE: there is some astrology in this book for parents who would rather avoid that, but it’s not a huge part.
Armstrong & Charlie.
By Steven B. Frank
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Size: 6.1 x 8.56
Ages 10-12 years
Received: Softcover book
Reviewed for: Raincoast Books.