Bluefishby Pat Schmatz
Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he's missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there's just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and/b>
Thirteen-year-old Travis has a secret: he can't read. But a shrewd teacher and a sassy girl are about to change everything in this witty and deeply moving novel.
Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he's missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there's just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he's called on to read out loud. But that's before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn't take "pass" for an answer--a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it's before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable characters--and captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.
A young teen loner graduallylearns to acceptthe friendship of an outspoken girl in thisproblem novel filled with likable, idiosyncratic characters.
Travis is filled with sullen resentment toward his recovering alcoholic grandfather, who moved them away from their old house despite Travis's devastation having to leave behind his lost dog, Rosco. At his new school, Travis is surprised to land on the radar of confident, kindVelveeta, and he increasingly looks forward to her friendly overtures each day, even as he worries that she might discover a secret of which he's deeply ashamed.In the meantime, Velveeta struggleswith familytrouble of herown and with the loss of a dear friend. A cast of richly developed characters peoples this work of contemporary fiction, told in the third person from Travis' point of view, with first-person vignettes from Velveeta's perspective peppered throughout. An ongoing reference to Markus Zusak's The Book Thief (2006) serves the themes of this novel well. Both teens have adults outside of their families whom they are able to trust, but at times these adults feel a little too heart-of-goldidealized—sadly, it's somehow hard to picture a public librarian actually givinga key to the building to a kid whose home isn't a safe place. Fortunately, these clichéd moments are brief.
A story rife with unusual honesty andhope. (Fiction. 12-16)
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Readers seeking emotional warmth, congenial humor, and an affirmation of forgiveness and friendship will cozy up to these characters.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
Despite the weighty problems the characters face-grief, alcoholism, and bullying among them-Bluefish is a lively, often-humorous, and ultimately hopeful page-turner. It has all the hallmarks of a classic contemporary young adult issues novel. It's packed with memorable and believable characters and powered by the prospect of redemption and just a hint of romance.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Meet the Author
Pat Schmatz is the author of three previous novels for teens. She lives in rural Wisconsin.
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Travis has spent his high school years with his head down and staying off everyone's radar. When he moves to a new school in a somewhat small town, it seems that he attracts attention like a flame does for a moth. The town bullies see a new threat; the basketball players see a new ally; the rejects see a possible savior; the girls think he's cute but dumb; and the English teacher see a boy who somehow got left behind. Travis succeeds in keeping everyone away except for the colorful Velveeta who refuses to leave him alone until she discovers what makes him tick. I found Bluefish a rather nice read that will pair well with a lazy, summer day in the park if you need a break from those intense paranormal or moving contemporary reads. The two main characters - Travis and Velveeta - were a little hard to befriend at first. They seemed closed-off, and they each had quite the backstory that unfolded chapter by chapter. Primarily Bluefish was Travis's story, but Velveeta sneaks herself in at the end of each chapter with a journal entry - and honestly I fell more in love with Velveeta's quirky voice and wished I had seen more of it! As far as illiteracy goes, I was intrigued with how the English teacher tried to motivate Travis to learn - which, in turn, makes me want to read The Book Thief which got mentioned quite a few times.
Bluefish by Pat Schmatz tells the story of a boy named Travis who has a learning disability and is entering into a new school. When he enters the school he becomes hesitant that he would never be able to make any connections with the people in his school, especially due to his inability to read. However, as school begins he encounters a girl named Velveeta who befriends him and makes him feel right at home. He also receives reading help from his teacher, Mr. McQueen. Together, Mr. McQueen and Velveeta help Travis with an activity that helps him learn to read. This activity involved Travis reading a book and circling words he didn’t know. Each week, he would learn the words he circled and then read the entire book to Mr. McQueen at the end of the week. Velveeta helped in this process by sitting down with Travis each afternoon and helping him go through the words he didn’t know. As a perspective middle school teacher, I would recommend this book because it is helpful with the inclusion of students with special needs into a 4-8 classroom because it allows the other students in the classroom to see the results of being respectful to students with learning disabilities. In this book, Velveeta was not judgmental of Travis’s inability to read, but helped him, and when Velveeta was going through trouble, Travis was there to help her. This shows that even though a student may have a disability, they are still a person and their feelings should be considered as well. Another example of this is when Travis developed a crush on Velveeta after she had befriended him and helped him with his reading. Aside from reading I would also use a in class, hands-on activity to share what it is like for a student with a learning disability. As a class, I would have the students split up into groups and give each group a paper that had misspelled words on it and many errors, I would have them look at the paper and try to translate what it says. After they have tried over and over, I would have them turn their attention back to me and explain that this is what life is like all the time with a person with learning disabilities and so they can see what it is like in their shoes and make them appreciate them more as they enter the classroom.
Love this book! I really can relate to it.
Stayed up half the night to finish this book!
I would definetly suggest it but it wasnt as great as i thought it would be.