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If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period

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Overview

Kirsten's parents are barely speaking to each other, and her best friend has fallen under the spell of the school's queen bee, Brianna. It seems like only Kirsten's younger science-geek sister is on her side. Walker's goal is to survive at the new white private school his mom has sent him to because she thinks he's going to screw up like his cousin. But he's a good kid. So is his friend Matteo, though no one knows why he?ll do absolutely anything that hot blond Brianna asks of him. But all of this feels almost ...

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2008 Audio CD Book Good. No dust jacket as issued. X-Library 4 CDS with minimal markings/attachments. Normal shelf and display wear...

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2007 Audio CD Good You will receive 4 AUDIO CDs withdrawn from the library collection. We will polish each library CD for a reliable, clear sounding presentation. Enjoy this ... worthwhile Audio CD performance. Read more Show Less

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If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period

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Overview

Kirsten's parents are barely speaking to each other, and her best friend has fallen under the spell of the school's queen bee, Brianna. It seems like only Kirsten's younger science-geek sister is on her side. Walker's goal is to survive at the new white private school his mom has sent him to because she thinks he's going to screw up like his cousin. But he's a good kid. So is his friend Matteo, though no one knows why he’ll do absolutely anything that hot blond Brianna asks of him. But all of this feels almost trivial when Kirsten and Walker discover a secret that shakes them both to the core.

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Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Ward
Choldenko…has a spiky wit, an empathetic eye for kids' foibles and fears, an ear for their distinctive voices and an impressive range…While it treats issues of race, class and marital discord fearlessly, it's also one of the funniest they'll read this year.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
“The issues raised are spot-on for this age group. . . . (an) under-the-microscope examination of the often cruel, always dramatic dynamics of junior high.”
School Library Journal
“Choldenko convincingly covers the middle school scene . . . sparkling characterization and touches of humor . . . tumultuous twists that ultimately convince Kirsten that, indeed, she does matter.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Choldenko's talent for characters and conversation brings the two voices instantly to life in alternating points of view...This will appeal to a wide range of middle-school readers and would make a great book-club or classroom discussion."
VOYA - Vikki Terrile
Kirsten cannot wait to start seventh grade. After a lousy summer during which one of her best friends moved and her parents did nothing but fight, school will be welcomed. But the new year does not go as planned when Kirsten's remaining friend turns on her to be accepted by the popular crowd, her mother hounds her about her emotional eating and weight gain, and a new student holds the key to a shocking family secret. Choldenko alternates chapters between Kirsten's first-person narration and the third-person perspective of Walk, an African American student new to Kirsten's private school and connected somehow to the reason why Kirsten's parents are fighting. Although Kirsten's voice is achingly authentic-self-deprecating and conflicted yet hopeful-the chapters from Walk's point of view seem awkward and interrupt the flow of the novel. Although Kirsten, Walk, and their classmates are barely thirteen, they seem much older. Late in the novel, Walk takes his mother's brand-new sports car for a spin without consequence, and the revelation that Kirsten's father is also Walk's father is a mature theme with which such young characters must deal. The novel touches on racism, eating disorders, and bullying, and one cannot help but feel that it would have been more memorable and compelling had Choldenko aged her characters a few years and let Kirsten tell the story in its entirety.
Kirkus Reviews
Kirsten and Walk start the first day of seventh grade with one thing in common: They're both late. This earns them a detention together, and they strike up an easy friendship, which seems to make their mothers uneasy for some reason. Could it be that Walk is the only black kid at the very private school? Or that Kirsten shows signs of an eating disorder, has lost her best friend to the wiles of the rich and snobby Brianna Hanna-Hines and seems to have no desire to fit in with the popular crowd? Choldenko's talent for characters and conversation brings the two voices instantly to life in alternating points of view (Kirsten's chapters in first-person, Walk's in third, for a slight off-kilter feeling). The story of familiar middle-school tribulations is engaging, but fails to pick up steam until it lands in a late surprise twist. Completely without foreshadowing, it adds both gravitas and clarity to the entire story, which turns out to be about privilege, perception and the fallibility of parents. This will appeal to a wide range of middle-school readers and would make a great book-club or classroom discussion. (Fiction. 11-14)
From the Publisher
Praise for Al Capone Does My Shirts:
[set star] "Fascinating setting . . . hysterically funny scenes . . . a great read."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
[set star] "Told with humor and skill, will fascinate readers."—School Library Journal (starred)
[set star] "Fast-paced and memorable."—Publishers Weekly (starred)
Praise for Notes from a Liar and Her Dog:
[set star] "Funny, moving, and completely believable, this is a fine first novel."—Booklist (starred)
[set star] "Choldenko has a wonderfully witty way with words."—School Library Journal (starred)
 
 
 
 
The Washington Post Book World
"Choldenko has a flair for titles: Notes From a Liar and Her Dog, Al Capone Does My Shirts, now this. But books don't fly on titles alone. Choldenko also has a spiky wit, an empathetic eye for kids' foibles and fears, an ear for their distinctive voices and an impressive range. . . . If a Tree Falls unfolds in the less exotic setting of a fancy private school, but it treads more explosive ground as it switches between the viewpoints of two seventh-graders there—Kirsten, who is white, and Walk, who is black. That catchy title is a metaphor for the uprooting that takes place when Kirsten and Walk learn they have a whole lot more in common than their "brilliance." At the same time, it signals this book's real appeal for pre-teens: While it treats issues of race, class and marital discord fearlessly, it's also one of the funniest they'll read this year. "
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739361207
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/2007
  • Format: CD
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Gennifer Choldenko was bused to a predominantly black junior high after attending a mostly white elementary school. “Everywhere I went,” she remembers, “I was first my skin color and then who I was. And I never forgot what that felt like. I think the seed of this book was planted in that experience.” She is the author of several children’s books, including the Newbery Honor and New York Times Book Review bestseller Al Capone Does My Shirts, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and an ALA Notable Children’s Book, and which also received the Sid Fleischman Humor Award. She lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Read an Excerpt

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period


By Choldenko, Gennifer

Harcourt Children's Books

Copyright © 2007 Choldenko, Gennifer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780152057534

one
 
Kirsten
 
This is lame but I’m actually looking forward to school this year, because every day this summer was like crap: dog crap, cat crap—I even had a few elephant crap days. Trust me, it was bad.
 
           For starters I hardly saw my best friend in the whole world, Rory. She was always in camp or on Maui.
 
           They probably don’t even have crap on Maui.
 
           Besides Rory being gone all summer, my only other friend in the whole world, Nellie, moved away and my mom and dad fought all the time. They stopped seeing my little sister, Kippy, and me, and they definitely stopped hearing what we said. We even tried a little experiment on them. Kippy said there was a colony of worms living in the laundry hamper and my mom said: “Leave your muddy shoes outside.” And I said Brad Pitt had invited me to a slumber party and my mom said: “You already had your snack.”
 
           It was funny for a while. Then it wasn’t.
 
           But summer is over. School is back. And all I can think about as mymom drives us up to the drop-off is how I really, really, really want to have a bunch of classes with Rory this year. Well, that’s almost all I think of. I also consider my butt and how it will make its way out of our car. Nobody wants to see a gigantor butt coming out of a car first thing on a Monday morning, that much I know.
 
           “Have a good day. Eat the lunch I packed. Don’t buy junk . . . ,” my mom says when my feet hit the pavement.
            “Kirsten!” She unrolls the side window and beckons with her hand. “Do you know that boy, that bla—African American kid?” Her head cranes toward a guy who just gotout of a red sports car. Tall, nice-looking guy. Shaved head, handsome . . . dresses like he’s the governor’s son.
 
           I shrug. “Must be new.”
 
           The red car pulls out of the drop-off and my mom’s head snaps to the front. She pounces on the accelerator and her car flies forward with the door open and the seat belt clanking the side. She swerves around a big SUV, guns it, then pounces on the brakes, coming to a squealing, screeching halt.
 
           The stop sign.
 
           Her hand rotates a million miles an hour, gesturing to this poor huddled pedestrian, but the pedestrian won’t move. He’s afraid. I can’t blame the guy. . . . I’d be afraid, too.
 
           When my mom sees the man is sticking, she shoots forward again like she’s on the chase. She’s hunting down the red car, going to drive right over it and staple it to the ground.
 
           Oh, great: now she’s getting weird in public, too.
 
           When I turn to leave, the black kid is standing next to me. “That your mom?”
 
           I nod, then giggle. God, I hate my giggle. You have to be size three and named Barbie for my giggle. Between my giggle and the extra forty pounds, I’ve got to be the coolest girl in the whole seventh grade.
 
           “She hits my mom’s car, gonna be trouble.” He shakes his head. “You don’t wanna mess with my mom and that car.”
 
           “I’m sorry.” My face flames so hot I could fry eggs on my cheeks.
 
           “That’s a 350Z. We just got it. My mom’s been shining it with her toothbrush. You should see her.”
 
           “It’s nice.” I bite my lip. “Very red.”
 
           “My mom drives it real careful. She has two speeds. One mile an hour”—he pauses—“and stopped.”
 
           I laugh—my real laugh this time.
 
           “I thought the police were gonna pull us over for going so slow. Like, hey lady, get outta neutral.” He shakes his head.
 
           The warning bell rings. “We gotta move!” he says.
 
           “You go. I’ll never make it!”
 
           “Come on, whatever your name is, run,” he shouts over his shoulder.
 
           “My name is Kirsten,” I call after him as he thunders ahead taking the stairs two at a time.
 
           I try running, even though running makes my fat jiggle. Still, I want to keep up. This guy is nice to me even though my mother nearly creamed a guy in the crosswalk and chased down his mom’s car. My mother . . . I swear. What was that about, anyway?
Copyright © 2007 by Gennifer Choldenko
 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
 
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Continues...

Excerpted from If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Choldenko, Gennifer Copyright © 2007 by Choldenko, Gennifer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com

    Kirsten McKenna's got a lot on her mind, and on her body for that matter. She gained 30 pounds over the summer, thanks to her dysfunctional parents and their constant arguing. Maybe that's why her best friend, Rory, has stopped hanging out with her. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that Rory is now hanging with the popular crowd. Either way, Kirsten is relieved to find a new group of friends, including Walker "Walk" Jones. <BR/><BR/>Walk is new at this school and it's a whole different world from the City school he came from. Everyone knows he's here on scholarship, and some kids just won't let him forget it. Good thing he has one friend, Matteo, to count on. Oh, and there's that girl, Kirsten, too. She's pretty cool. <BR/><BR/>This was a quick read, but not because the content was simple. The plot kept the pages turning. The short chapters alternated between Kirsten's and Walk's perspectives, which was perfect for the pace of the book. It was portrayed as a simple middle school read, nothing out of the ordinary, but it delivered so much more. This book was very like something one might find from Judy Blume, in both voice and subject matter. Smart, insightful characters dealing with adult-world challenges while living with everyday life at school -- the good, the bad, and the downright nasty.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Funny

    The first sentence is
    This is lame but Im actually looking foward to school this year, because every day this summer was like crap: dog crap, cat crap,I even had a few elephant crap days- trust me it was bad.
    It was only 150 pages, but i laughed all the way through it especially at her little sister Kippy

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    READ THIS BOOK!!!!!

    This is a fantastic book read it!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2008

    Good issues to address

    When I first picked up this book, I was excited because I thought it was going to be very interesting after reading the cover information. The book is rated for ages 10+ and is written at a level appropriate for 4th/5th graders. However, I felt the sensitive issues it covered was more middle school oriented. The discussion of body image, racial stereotyping and divorce are common issues that all kids deal with and should be discussed with them, but I feel that the content of the book and the reading level of it did not mesh well. It is one I would not feel comfortable reading in my fourth grade classroom, but feel that for a sixth or seventh grade teacher, it would be a very good stepping stone to start a discussion of these issues.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    To all who say this book stinks

    You pepole have no taste! This book is one of the best books ive ever read. Trust me tp tell you ive read lots of books. To pepole who dont know weather to read it or not. You totallly should its super good. Its mixed with humor, a tiny bit of seruios and a supris twist.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    LEXI TO TONY

    I got locked out of all the books ive ever posted in... help.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    If U tap here, your hamster will explode jk (maybe)

    Ok so for those of you who are bad mouthing this freggin book saying thats its blah or whatever, YOU SICKEN ME! Wait till your spoiled self gets into middle school and you see all if this stupid drama that happens. For those of you who are african american, just know that as good, is not god enough. Teachers WILL label you as one of the dumb minority kids and they will not treat you like anybody els unless you excel. I feel bad for Walker. I hate being in situations like his. But it happens. Anyways, I thought that the book was very suspenseful and very realistic. This sort of stuff happens every day! STAY TRUE MY PEOPLE! LOL

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Awesome @#$%&

    I agree why write a 5 paragraph review when the reviews is a way for kidsto communicate it is really bad someone tell B&N

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2012

    The story, If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period, by Gennifer Choldenk

    The story, If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period, by Gennifer Choldenko did not really interest me. This book is about two seventh graders, Kirsten and Walker, and the separate issues they have in school. Kirsten gained a lot of weight over the summer because she was stressed about her parents always arguing and was losing a friend to the popular, mean girl group. Walker was dealing pressure to do well in school and feelings surrounding him being a minority in school. Even though I have never been in her situation, I really felt bad for Kirsten because her parents weren’t talking. I think that kids who have parents that are divorced can identify with this. I feel like Walker is just like a regular kid in my school who feels the pressure to do well just like the rest of us. I feel bad that he doesn’t feel like he fits in at school because needs a group of good friends. I can’t really relate to Walker’s situation because he is black and it is hard to imagine how he was feeling. I believe the message in this book is whether you are a girl or a boy, black or white, it doesn’t matter because anyone could have problems socially in school, for example not fitting in or not finding friends. I think this book would appeal to seventh graders going through this kind of drama. I didn’t like this book because the stories of the two main characters were not intriguing enough to keep my interest. I was not “pulled into” this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    It was blah..

    Read in two hhours. Wish i spent this money elsewhere.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2012

    Tap here please

    Im cunfused with this cat clan worrior thing going on y r u talking about this wen the book has nothing to do with it please explain -Z ps im looking for nook friends so if u want 1 ask me

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    :) :(

    Its okay but not my favorite. The one problem is that I'm kind of sick of the overused plot. Girl's parents are splitting up so she gains weight from stress. Her best friend leaves her for the clique. I have read a lot of books like it. However it has some new and exciting twists.
    In reply to " whats with all the super long receiws...." just so ya know, some people read them and find them helpful, me included! Happy June to all!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Whats with the super long reveiws that nobody cares about

    Blah

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    To Mistyfoot

    Hey Mistyfoot, I'll be Shadowkit. Please reply soon.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    Can i join

    Im a she cat with black fur and green eyes im a warrior and my name is codeclaw

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    It was an okay read.....

    I got this book to read for school and it was pretty entertaining. The beginning is a little boring in my opinion and slightly confusing about who is who, but once you reach about half way into the book you start to want to read more and its one of those books where you read what one character says or does and you just have to read some more to find out what the other character does in response. Which I think is great because its not one of those things where you can be like "Oh obviously blah blah blah is gonna happen" it keeps you guessing a little. The only con is that I felt the story was a little easy, as far as the plot was pretty straight forward, there was no really OMG moment in the book... but other than that you should definitely read the book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    This Book Was...

    Not the best! Before I read the book, I had seen it many places. My teacher loved it, my friends loved it, so I figured it would be good. So I borrowed it from the classroom. The first 20 pages were not too good, so I gave it another chance. I read about 20 pages more and still did not like it, so I gave it a 10 page more chance. I still could not get into it! It may be a good book, but not my kind of book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2011

    Great for a pre-teenage mind!!

    excellent!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 30, 2011

    A great book!

    This is a great book. As a teacher, I like to do book clubs. This is our lastest book for book club. Both the kids and me love it! I highly suggest reading it. No matter your age, I assure you, you'll love it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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