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The Cruisers (Cruisers Series #1)

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Overview

Eighth grade is hard enough, but when you're a Cruiser, you're really put to the test. The launch of a new middle-grade series from bestselling award-winner Walter Dean Myers.

Zander and his friends, Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi start their own newspaper, The Cruiser, as a means for speaking out, keeping the peace, and expressing what they believe. When the school launches a mock Civil War, Zander and his friends are forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it ...

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The Cruisers (Cruisers Series #1)

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Overview

Eighth grade is hard enough, but when you're a Cruiser, you're really put to the test. The launch of a new middle-grade series from bestselling award-winner Walter Dean Myers.

Zander and his friends, Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi start their own newspaper, The Cruiser, as a means for speaking out, keeping the peace, and expressing what they believe. When the school launches a mock Civil War, Zander and his friends are forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it costs to stand up for a cause. The result is nothing they could have expected, and everything they could have hoped for.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Four smart but underachieving students--Zander, LaShonda, Bobbi, and Kambui--at a Harlem school for the gifted and talented star in Myers’s (Sunrise over Fallujah) thought-provoking if occasionally heavy-handed first installment of the Cruisers series. Giving the quartet one last chance to shape up, the assistant principal issues them a challenge: while the other eighth graders are divided into Union and Confederate sympathizers for a study project, the Cruisers (named after an alternative newspaper they produce) are charged with negotiating peace. Tensions and tempers flare when students writing as “the Sons of the Confederacy” contribute a pro-slavery editorial to the official school paper (“I mean, there I was, black from locks to ’Boks, from dreads to Keds, but I just didn’t think much on it and now it was all up in my face,” thinks Zander). Through Zander’s levelheaded narration and editorials mostly written by the Cruisers, Myers explores freedom of speech, the role that race and the Constitution played in the 19th-century slavery debate, the moral implications of slavery, and the effectiveness of peaceful demonstration--a lot of food for thought for a slim novel. Ages 9-12. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Maggie Chase
Zander, LaShonda, Bobbi, and Kambui are dubbed "The Cruisers" because they seem to be just going through the motions in this highly competitive school, and the assistant principal, Mr. Culpepper, seems to bear a grudge against them for that reason. He and the principal challenge them to be the peacekeepers in the annual North-South simulation that involves taking sides for the Confederacy or the Union; their continued enrollment in the school is riding on their success. The blurb on the jacket, provided by the publishers, is misleading. It says the students in this story start an alternative school newspaper in response to the eighth-grade simulation. The newspaper already exists before the controversy has begun; the Cruisers just continue to use it to get their message across. Secondly, the regular school newspaper, The Palette, publishes some very incendiary, racist articles to incite controversy, yet when the Cruisers decide to fight back peacefully by wearing signs around their necks, all hell breaks loose and they are attacked by Mr. Culpepper in a way that does not make sense relative to everything else that has happened. It simply does not ring true. And we never hear what is happening in the classroom, so there is no context for this simulation. Any school that would dare to conduct this kind of simulation would have rich, supportive discussions in the class to help students make sense what was happening during this era of U.S. history. The students seem to be managing the entire project out in the halls and in the cafeteria. As an educator, I found many aspects of the book to be too contrived to be believable and the action in the story a little hard to follow at times. Reviewer: Maggie Chase
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Because of what they've written in their alternative newspaper, The Cruiser, four eighth-grade friends are given an assignment rather than suspension. Classmates at the DaVinci Academy, a school for talented and gifted students, Zander, LaShonda, Kambui, and Bobbi are to be peacekeepers during a Civil War unit and prevent another war from breaking out. They use their newspaper to raise awareness and eventually ease tensions between the opposing factions, a group of white athletes who call themselves Sons of the Confederacy and a large population of African-American students and others who don't want to associate themselves with racist sentiments. Adding to the tension is the threat of expulsion if the friends can't prevent the fighting; their grades have been slipping and the administration is beginning to doubt their dedication to such a prestigious and competitive school. In the end the group prevails, but an assignment asks them to consider what would have happened if there had been no Civil War, and the students are reminded of the complexity of the situation, then and now. Once again, Myers integrates difficult and significant conversations into his work. The Cruisers, the first in a promised series, is marketed to a younger crowd than Monster () or Shooter (), for example, but is no less honest and raw. The premise is promising. —Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VA
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—The Cruisers attend the DaVinci Academy for the Gifted and Talented in Harlem, but Zander and his crew—Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi—don't fit in. Although they are academically talented, their grades are poor, and they are given one last shot to redeem themselves. While the school participates in a Civil War recreation, the Cruisers are given the job of peacekeepers and must arrange a peace between the sides—or be expelled from school. When a group starts to use historical documents to promote slavery in the Southern states, the school is thrown into an uproar. Zander and his friends create an alternative school newspaper, "The Cruiser," and learn about the power of words. Walter Dean Myers's short, yet powerful novel (Scholastic, 2010) is narrated by Kevin Free whose youthful tone and measured pace perfectly reflect Zander's voice. Amidst his narrative, Myers has included articles and editorials from the various newspapers at the DaVinci Academy, and Free does a good job of reading them. Content, performance, and length all make this audiobook a great choice for reluctant middle school readers, especially in urban areas.—Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439916264
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Series: Cruisers Series , #1
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 378,716
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 11.22 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Walter Dean Myers is the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of more than eighty books for children and young adults. His extensive body of work includes Sunrise Over Fallujah, which was named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly, Amiri and Odette: A Love Story, Fallen Angels, Harlem Summer, and Somewhere in the Darkness. Mr. Myers’ many awards include two Newbery Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, and the Michael L. Printz Award. Mr. Myers lives in Jersey City, NJ.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    Yeah

    I'm first

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