Everyday Books for Everyday Life by Jeff Anderson

Nerdy Book Club

Zack Delacruz High REZIn fifth grade, I loved reading any book with Henry Huggins in it. The book that hooked me on reading, in fact, was Ribsy by Beverly Cleary (who until adulthood I called Beverly Clearly).

Today my first middle grade novel, Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth (Sterling, 2015) debuts in bookstores across the United States and Canada. Zack Delacruz was borne of a need for books that would speak to my students—the real students who crowded my classrooms for over twenty years. I wanted them to have books that reflected their diversity of culture and experience. I wanted them to have books that made them laugh and think. I wanted them read a book the way I devoured Henry Huggins. I wanted a book in which nothing truly horrific had to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, death and tragedy certainly raise the stakes in a plot and…

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