Darnell Rock Reporting

Darnell Rock Reporting

3.7 4
by Walter Dean Myers

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DARNELL ROCK IS not the kind of kid who volunteers to write for the newspaper—it sounds too much like homework. But this is Darnell’s last chance to pull himself together and make a positive contribution to his school. At first, Darnell would rather be hanging out with his sister and his friends. But soon he gets interested in the Oakdale Gazette.…  See more details below


DARNELL ROCK IS not the kind of kid who volunteers to write for the newspaper—it sounds too much like homework. But this is Darnell’s last chance to pull himself together and make a positive contribution to his school. At first, Darnell would rather be hanging out with his sister and his friends. But soon he gets interested in the Oakdale Gazette. Much to his surprise, Darnell discovers that people pay attention to the words he writes. Before he knows it, Darnell changes from a kid who can’t do anything right to a person who can make a difference.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A struggling middle school student finds a way to turn his life around when he works on the school newspaper; PW called this story "lively" and "uplifting." Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Darnell Rock, 13, has always taken a lackadaisical attitude toward school and is a fringe member of the Corner Crew, South Oakdale Middle School's semi-deviant clique. Although they are quite close, he and his twin sister, Tamika, engage in nonstop verbal one-upmanship. Things begin to change for Darnell after he joins, on a whim, the staff of the school newspaper. He has a chance encounter with a homeless man and ends up writing an article that advocates turning over a piece of school property to the homeless so that they can grow vegetables there. This proposal fosters debate within the school and, after the city's daily paper picks up the story, the whole community. This experience helps Darnell grow, and he begins to look at the world around him in a different way. Once again, Myers presents a well-written story with a realistic ending and adeptly brings to life the major players-Darnell, his friends, and his middle-class African-American family. Young readers will be interested in and able to relate to these characters. While this book might not be the author's best, it's still on target.-Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Janice Del Negro
Thirteen-year-old Darnell Rock reluctantly joins the school newspaper and is surprised to find himself actually interested. His interest leads him to interview Sweeby, a homeless Vietnam veteran. The local paper picks up the story, and Darnell becomes a minor celebrity, causing a change in how he is perceived by others as well as a change in how he perceives himself. Myers includes a lot of issues here--the homeless, Vietnam, educating the "problem" child--but his story is not issue driven. It is the development of Darnell's character that moves things forward: we watch as Darnell takes his first tentative steps toward thinking and acting on his own. The dialogue is funny and down to earth, and none of the characters is a flat-out caricature. The barber-shop scene in which Darnell interviews Sweeby (and by default, everyone else in the shop) is a masterpiece of understatement.
From the Publisher
“This is an energetic read, unintimidating but thoughtful, that many Darnell-age kids in search of self will find rewarding.”—The Bulletin

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
710L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Born in Marinsburg, West Virginia in 1937, Walter Dean Myers is one of the premier authors of books for children. His mother died very early in his life–an event that propelled him into experiences that later influenced him to write. It was difficult for Myers' father to raise eight children alone, and eventually, a nearby couple, Herbert and Florence Dean, took in three-year old Walter and moved to Harlem, New York. "Harlem became my home and the place where my first impressions of the world were set," says Myers.
As a child, Myers went to school in his neighborhood and attended bible school almost every day of the week. Myers had a speech impediment which made communicating difficult for him, and often found himself in fights, defending himself against kids who taunted him. After a while, one of this teachers suggested to his class that they could write something to read aloud. Young Myers began writing poetry to give voice to his thoughts and feelings, and at age sixteen, won a prize in an essay contest and a set of encyclopedias for a long narrative poem. Later, his father bought him a used typewriter, which he used to churn out a seemingly endless stream of stories.
Along with the many things he was discovering about himself, Myers was also learning how to survive. One day he had the courage to break up a fight between three gang members and a kid who had just moved into the neighborhood. He became a marked man–and felt his life was in danger.
For example, once, he was sitting in the tree in Morningside Park, across from the building he lived in, reading O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra, when some gang members spotted him and surrounded the tree. Myers jumped to the ground, flashed a stiletto in order to fend them off, and made a mad dash for his building. He escaped, but he never forgot the incident. Later he enlisted in the army, got married, had a child, went through a turbulent creative struggle, got divorced, got married again–and during all of this, kept writing, whether his work pleased him or not.
But Walter Dean Myers' life is not the story of a tormented, embittered artist. Rather it is the story of a gifted, complex person committed to sharing that gift with young readers. Myers' stories and novels paint a powerful picture of the pressures of growing up on big city streets. Yet, he emphasizes close relationships, trust, and personal growth.
It seems that one of Myers' greatest struggles was to understand what type of writer he wanted to be. As the years passed and his books became more and more popular, Walter Dean Myers came to believe that his work filled a void for African American youths who yearned for positive reading experiences and role models. He frequently writes about children who share similar economic and ethnic situations with his own childhood. "But my situation as a parent did not mirror that of my childhood," he says. "While my parents were quite poor, my children are thoroughly entrenched in the middle class experience. To them African prints go well with designer jeans, pizzas go down easier to a reggae beat, and shopping malls are an unmistakable part of their culture."
It is clear that Myers' understanding of both the world he was raised in and the world of his children allows him to bring an authority to his work that resonates with his young readers. It is one of many attributes that has made him one of the most important children's and young adult authors writing today. Among his many honors are two Newbery Honor books for Scorpions and Somewhere in the Darkness. He is also a two-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award for Now Is Your Time! and Fallen Angels. In addition, Myers has received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for his contribution to young adult literature.
Myers' novel, Darnell Rock Reporting, is a warm and humorous story about thirteen-year-old Darnell Rock–a boy who works on his school newspaper. The book is sure to appeal to reluctant readers. Myers' recent picture book, How Mr. Monkey Saw the Whole World, is a cautionary fable about a watchful monkey who sees that a greedy buzzard gets his comeuppance.
Myer’s recent work, 145th Street: Short Stories (A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book) captures the heartbeat of one memorable block in Harlem, New York. These powerful, often gripping stories range from humor and celebration to terror and grief.
Walter Dean Myers, the father of three grown children, lives with his wife in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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Darnell Rock Reporting 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
AmazingKidsReview More than 1 year ago
Darnell Rock Report by Walter Dean Myers, is a story about a thirteen-year-old boy who isn't very excited about anything, especially school. His life seems to be one screw-up after another and no one expects more from him. This all changes after he decides to join the school paper to get out of being in trouble with the principal. He becomes interested in a homeless man he sees on the street and decides to write a story about him. After making a mistake of offering charity to the man and offending him, he realizes the importance of pride and self-reliance. The school is building a parking lot on some land and Darnell thinks it would be a better idea to allow the homeless to use the land to build a garden to feed themselves. His story is spotted by the local paper and Darnell is surprised when his idea becomes the center of attention in his school. He sees how his writing can influence others and it begins to change his attitude. Will the garden get built? Will Darnell realize that he has something special to offer or will he fall into the expectations of those around him? I felt this book showed me how sometimes people can be limited by other people's expectations of them. It is up to us to try to become a better person and do something that matters. This book realistically shows the way kids treat each other at school and I think that is important to the story. It may not have the perfect fairy tale ending, but it shows that differences are okay and hope in the future can change your attitude. I recommend this book, especially to kids that feel as if they are not doing their best. It may just motivate them to give it another try.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Darnell Rock Reporting is a great book that teaches young children that they can make a difference, and just because your idea is rejected doesn't mean that they have to stop fighting. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to make differences!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Darnell Rock goes to South Oakdale Middle School and gets into trouble all the time. He joined the school paper to change his lifestyle. He walks home from school with his friend Larry but one day he walked by himself and went a different way, which would change his life forever. Walter Dean Myers called the book Darnell Rock Reporting. The book had no antagonist or protagonist and no action. The plot was totally different from the conclusion. The characters had no characteristics and made you want to put the book down.