My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian, ill. Jake Tashjian (NY: Henry Holt, 2010).
Twelve-year-old Derek Fallon anticipates a fabulous summer of loafing around interspersed with pranks. He does not plan to crack any book, except maybe his sketchbook or some comics, but the summer reading list and his parents' wishes intervene, and after a particularly messy prank involving a monkey, Derek ends up at an educational day camp--ugh! Despite his resistance, Derek learns some great techniques for making reading more bearable that involve one of his favorite pastimes--drawing. He's been illustrating his vocabulary words all year and notices that they make a great flip book of his summer. Better, a new friend shows him how to create computer animations of his drawings. Derek also learns about the power of stories in people's lives--not the stories they read, but the stories they tell themselves about their lives.
Fascinating, funny, clever--this novel is excellent on so many levels. Highly recommended for boys or girls like Derek--who don't really want to read, but have great imaginations. Tashjian's teen-aged son Jake created the cartoons for this book. Ages 9 and up.
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