Post by Guest Blogger and d323 parent, Christine Campbell.

I love to read!  So I feel very fortunate that I get to teach 7th grade ELA- English/Language Arts.  For the past 6 years, I’ve read between 90-100 books each year. Every year I read all the books on the Illinois Rebecca Caudill and Abraham Lincoln book lists.

The Field Guide To The North American Teenager by Ben Philippe is one of my favorites from the Abraham Lincoln 2022 list.

“When you’re a teenager, that’s the age where you feel everything to the absolute highest, right?” Philippe says. “So you’re not just like, ‘oh yeah, my relationship is hitting kind of a weird spot.’ It’s like, ‘The world is crumbling and screw your casserole, mom and nothing makes sense and I’m just going to sob in a stairwell!'”

The main character, Norris Kaplan, is forced to move from Canada to Texas with his mom after his parents divorce and his dad remarries. Norris, a Black French Canadian, who loves hockey is angry to have to start all over in high school- a time when insecurities are all encompassing in the best situations. 

Norris has a chip on his shoulder after his dad refuses to let Norris stay in Canada instead of moving to Texas. He struggles to find the group where he can be himself.The angst Norris feels is on full display in how he acts and reacts to others.  We are drawn into some of his missteps and mistakes, but I was left feeling empathetic towards Norris even though he said and did some dumb,  almost mean things.  

Many positive messages but some swearing and mention of sex, drinking and drugs.

If you want to listen to an interview on NPR with the author, click link here.

Check out this book if it sounds good to you. OR look for one of the others on the 2022 book lists.

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