Today I am thrilled to share a new novel sent to be by Scholastic! Scholastic is a platinum sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day and I am so excited to work with them.
Save Me a Seat (©2016) by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan tells the story of two kids who think they have nothing in common. For fifth graders Joe and Ravi, the first week of school offers up an important lesson about how first impressions can often be deceiving.
Joe has been the target of the school bully for years and last year his two best friends moved away. To make matters worse, his mother, who was recently laid off from her job as a nurse, has just taken a job as the new lunchroom monitor. Joe has always struggled in class and felt like an outsider because he has Auditory Processing Disorder, meaning he doesn’t process what he hears the same way as most other kids.
Ravi, on the other hand, has high hopes for the new school year. His family has recently moved to the U.S. from India, and Ravi, who was top of his class at his old school, is excited to meet his new teacher and classmates. Unfortunately, his new school is nothing like he expected. No one can pronounce his name or understand his accent. On the first day of class, Ravi’s teacher suggests he go to the resource center to work on his English, even though English is his first language.
The book alternates between Ravi and Joe’s perspectives, often showing the same events from both boys’ point of view. After many miscommunications and misunderstandings, the story culminates in Joe and Ravi finally realizing that they were meant to be friends all along.
This book is tremendously thought-provoking, poignant, and funny. The story has two strong protagonists that young readers will be able to relate to, as Joe and Ravi’s struggles are ones that many children face. The story offers up plenty of fodder for discussions about bullying, self-acceptance, and cultural stereotypes.
This book would make an excellent read-aloud for an upper elementary classroom. For independent reading, I recommend Save Me a Seat for ages 9-12.
Scholastic was founded in 1920 as a single classroom magazine. Today, Scholastic books and educational materials are in tens of thousands of schools and tens of millions of homes worldwide, helping to Open a World of Possible for children across the globe. The mission of Scholastic is to encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Scholastic will also be helping with social media efforts surrounding this event and working to get the MCBD the message out. We will have more details and images in the days to follow, but in the meantime, we simply wanted to share the good news. Be sure and connect with Scholastic on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and multiple other social media outlets.