When I was a kid, I was a voracious reader – even more than I am now. My mom was so proud – she’d take me to the parish library, I’d pick up a stack of 20-25 books and fly through them in a day or three at most. Hoping to encourage my younger brother to have a similar passion for books, my mother would often buy books for Brother and put them on the bookshelf in his room. I don’t think he ever actually read any of them. I did, many, many times.
One of those impulse purchases was a set of four books by Canadian author Gordon Korman: This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall, Beware the Fish, The War with Mr. Wizzle, and Who is Bugs Potter? The first three were the first three installments in Korman’s Bruno and Boots series, which was about two kids (the aforementioned Bruno and Boots) away at boarding school. Bruno was always planning a scheme of some sort to Boots’ straight man. The fourth was about a very talented high school drummer named Bugs who loved to sneak out and drum with rock bands in small, smoky night clubs as they rolled through town.
All four are absolutely hysterical, but I’m just now getting to the best part: the first, This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall, was originally a seventh grade writing project for Korman. I love that! What better way to encourage a kid to read, and dream, and write their own work than to give them an example of something written and published by someone their age?
A friend’s child has had an interesting week at school, to put it mildly. She’s going to be spending a considerable chunk of time sitting in the library at her elementary school while everyone else takes the standardized tests for their state. (Girl refused to take the tests and used Malcolm X quotes in her argument. The administration referred to her as stoic and unrelenting in her resistance efforts. I couldn’t be more proud.) Since these books are all about very smart kids subverting authority, and were actually written by a kid (at the time), of course they came immediately to mind. I’m hoping she reads them and starts on her own. I can’t wait to read it – I’ll be the first to purchase when she self-publishes.
And finally, since the adventures of Bruno and Boots always reminded me strongly of a cleaned up (but still funny!) version of Animal House, I’m gonna let Otis Day and the Knights close this post out.