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Monday, June 08, 2009

You're Never Too Old for Space Camp

Recently, Tom Anselm, who runs the Tom Anselm's Boomer Times blog, agreed to a book exchange with me. He read Learn Me Good -- and posted a lovely review -- and he sent me HIS novel which is called You're Never Too Old for Space Camp.

I just finished reading it today, and so my long overdue review is finally complete.

Space Camp is a very entertaining read. Anselm does a great job of bringing the characters at Cedar Grove Middle School to life, perhaps because they are based on real people he knows or perhaps because he has a great skill for writing people. The main character, Joe Akers, is a Special Education teacher in charge of a handful of academically challenged youngsters, including a potential NFL linebacker and a lad who rides his horse to school. Other teachers include a PT Barnum-esque principal, an uptight assistant principal who has a penchant for hiding in the bushes to spy, and a couple of love-struck educators for whom romance blossoms over the course of the story.

Anselm does a wonderful job of weaving yarns and telling stories, all while following the course of a typical school year. There is a bomb threat, and true to reality, the caller is never identified. There is a standing weekly meeting at "The Library," code for the teacher Happy Hour where teachers unwind and vent. There are a couple of kids who get expelled for going a little too far in the touchy-feely department. There are unexpected and saddening medical trials and tribulations.

This is what real life looks like for a teacher. The title of the book plays into the story wonderfully at the end, in one of the most touching parts, and by that time you'll feel like these characters have become a part of your life.

Check this book out. You'll thank me for it.


Anonymous said...

I will definitely check this one out. My mom taught special ed for 27 years, I bet she'd enjoy it too! Thanks for the info!

Melissa B. said...

You & Tom have inspired me, Mr. Teacher. Think I'll have to tackle a book-publishing project myself. Trouble is, though, that first I have to write the dern thing, right?