Because of Mr. Terupt…
Author: Rob Buyea
Copyright Date: 2010
It’s our bad luck to have teachers in this world, but since we’re stuck with them, the best we can do is hope to get a brand-new one instead of a mean old fart.
It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.
Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone. (from Amazon.com)
I chose to read this book because it’s a Utah Beehive Nominee. Our librarian does a contest of sorts to challenge all third, fourth, and fifth graders to read all the Beehive Nominees. Many of my students are participating, but I also have some that won’t read even one book. So, I am reading this book aloud so that all students will have read (or listened to) just one. At the end of the year, they have a pizza party and discuss the nominees. Each student then gets to take one of the books home to keep! It’s a lot of fun and the kids love it.
I really have enjoyed the characters in this book. It is quite surprising the problems that each character has to deal with. We have bullying, bad boys, bad girls, teenage pregnancy, and students living with grandparents (this is happening a lot nowadays, which students could make some great connections with). This book is told by multiple character’s points-of-view. The author, Rob Buyea, does an excellent job in writing in each character’s voice and being consistent with it. I think when writing in several different voices, getting mixed up or being non-consistent could be easy to do.
The students of the class get a new teacher. He is different, but something tragic happens. It’s through this tragedy that these students realize the true impact that their teacher had on them. Because of this, many students change their lives for the better.
This is an easy read, short chapters, great for discussion, and an all around great book!
- Describe each character in the book. How are each different? Do they have a different way of saying things?
- What do you think will happen at the end of the book?
- Have you ever had a teacher like Mr. Terupt? What was he/she like? How did they change your life?
- Why don’t you think Mr. Terupt has any family or even talks about them?
- Who is your favorite character? Why?
As we were reading this, I told my students to think about how the character writes in each character’s voice and how each character is different. This is a great book to teach voice and point-of-view. Each character has a perspective on the same situation.
You can also do a SKYPE visit with the author. He has a great website (http://robbuyea.com/because_of_mr_terupt). You can email him for prices.
This is a great mentor text for teaching point-of-view and voice.