The Tuesday Cafe

( 3 )


It all started with a small fire in a garbage can. Unfortunately, the garbage can was in the hallway of Harper's school…
Harper Winslow has some problems. His parents don't seem to understand what is going on in his life at all. He's not doing well at school. And a juvenile court judge has just ordered him to write a 2000-word essay on how he's going to turn his life around.
Now his mother has enrolled him in ...
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It all started with a small fire in a garbage can. Unfortunately, the garbage can was in the hallway of Harper's school…
Harper Winslow has some problems. His parents don't seem to understand what is going on in his life at all. He's not doing well at school. And a juvenile court judge has just ordered him to write a 2000-word essay on how he's going to turn his life around.
Now his mother has enrolled him in a writing class called The Tuesday Café, but it's not quite what she expected.
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Editorial Reviews

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"For any hockey fans out there, this is definitely a must read!"
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
Harper has a lot of problems. His parents are too wrapped up in their own lives to give him the time and respect he deserves. Harper sets a small fire in school to get attention. The attention he gets includes probation, a court order for community service, and he must write an essay on how he will turn his life around. To help him complete the essay, his mother enrolls him in a writing group called the Tuesday Cafe. With their assistance, and that of the school counselor and his parents, Harper discovers ways to change his life and fill the emptiness inside him. The innovative setting provides an intriguing and fresh look at a coming-of -age story.
VOYA - Sarah Flowers
When fifteen-year-old Harper Winslow is arrested for setting a fire in a trash can at his school, the judge yells at Harper, sympathizes with his socially-prominent parents, and then sentences Harper to forty hours of community service and a two thousand-word essay. Harper's mother cares enough to enroll him in a writing class called the Tuesday Cafe, but not quite enough to ask Harper if he wants to take a class, and certainly not enough to listen to the entire phone message, which concludes with the information that the Tuesday Cafe is a writing class for learning disabled and newly-literate adults. Therein lies the crux of Harper's problem. He is an afterthought child, born when his brother and sister were already nearly grown up and his parents well embarked on their careers. His parents are both busy with their jobs, their social life, and their grandchildren. Harper feels ignored, which he is, and he has never really learned how to get along with people. Fortunately for Harper, the dynamics of the Tuesday Cafe are different for him, and by interacting with this motley crew of classmates, as well as with Josh, the writing teacher, and Ms. Davis, his school counselor, Harper begins to see that he can have some control over his life, and that there are better ways of filling the lonely void than starting fires in trash cans. The characters and their conversations ring true, and the resolution is satisfying, if a bit pat. Harper is a modern-day Holden Caulfield with a positive twist: no nervous breakdown here, just a gradual and realistic turnaround, as he uses his writing exercises to come to terms with his parents and with his life. Recommended. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9Harper Winslow, 15, is the cynical, disaffected child of affluent, preoccupied parents. Brought before a judge for setting a garbage can on fire in his Emville, Alberta, high school, Harper is sentenced to 40 hours of community service and a 2000-word essay on "How I Plan to Turn My Life Around." His efficient mother enrolls him in a local writing class called "The Tuesday Cafe." Thrust into this unpretentious, educationally and intellectually challenged group, Harper gradually sheds his aloof, defensive facade. He learns that self-worth and friendships derive from openness, honesty, and accountability. His coming-of-age testimonial exposes the contemporary malaise of wealthy teenagers who need parental communications more than material advantages. Adolescent sarcasm and perceptions lighten the narrative and clearly depict the personalities of the judge, parents, guidance counselor, and the motley "Tuesday Cafe" crew. Harper's introspection, candor, and resolutions ring true. The engaging conversational style, upbeat ending, and "take control of your life" message combine to create an appealing package.Gerry Larson, Durham Magnet Center, Durham, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551430744
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Series: The Harper Winslow series , #1
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Trembath began writing for keeps when he was 13 years old. He wrote horror stories at night and read them to his little brother as he tried to fall asleep.
"Every morning I'd ask him if he'd had a nightmare and he'd say, 'No. Was I supposed to?' I soon abandoned horror stories and moved on to comedy. I read those stories to him and would ask him in the morning. 'Did you laugh?' One day he said, 'No, but I had a nightmare.'"

Don was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on May 22, 1963--the third youngest of four boys. In the winter he played hockey and in the summer football, baseball, and soccer. Between games, he went to school. At the age of 14, Don moved with his family to Alberta. He graduated from Paul Kane High School in St. Albert and went to the University of Alberta to study English. He has written for weekly and daily newspapers, local and national magazines, and a host of trade publications.

Don's first book, The Tuesday Cafe, was published in 1996. Since then he has written nine others, with two more, Daydream Believer and Hypnotized published in 2007. Don also teaches writing at MacEwan College in Edmonton, and regularly visit schools and libraries across the country.

Don currently lives in the town of Morinville, Alberta with his wife, Lisa, their three kids, three laid back cats, and their neighbor's big dog.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2006

    It Was Ok

    I thought it was an ok book. It was a little slow and not much action but in the end it was starting to make sense. I wouldn't reccomend it unless you like to read about other kids lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2000

    Good book for pre-teens and teens

    This book is about a troubled youth who thinks his parents don't love him. He starts a small fire and goes to court. He has to write a 2000 word essay and his parents sign him up for a writing class called the Tuesday Cafe. He learns alot of truths in this writing class including the fact that he started the fire because he was feeling bad about himself. He also found out how much his parents really loved him. I read this for my summer reading and I recommend it for other kids. It was fast reading and flowed very well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2000

    This is a great book

    This is a great book. About a boy who is looking for someone to take time to get to know him. In looking he sets fire to a garbage can and gets a 2000 word essay. In doing this he gets singed up for a writing class. In the end he finds the parents that he hasa always wanted.

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