8th Grade Superzero

8th Grade Superzero

by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich


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After the worst first day back *ever*, Reggie's been nicknamed "Pukey" McKnight at his Brooklyn school. He wants to turn his image around, but he has other things on his mind as well: his father, who's out of a job; his best friends, Joe C. (who's a little too White) and Ruthie (who's a little too intense); his ex-best friend Donovan, who's now a jerk; and of course, the beautiful Mialonie. The elections for school president are coming up, but with his notorious nickname and "nothing" social status, Reggie wouldn't stand a chance, if he even had the courage to run.

Then Reggie gets involved with a local homeless shelter.Inspired by the clients there--especially Charlie, a five-year-old kid who becomes his official "Little Buddy"— he begins to think about making a difference, both in the world and at school. Pukey for President? It can happen . . . if he starts believing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545097253
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 06/01/2011
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 511,277
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich grew up in the United States, Nigeria, and Kenya, and studied writing with Paula Danziger and Madeline L'Engle. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her on the web at www.olugbemisola.com.

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8th Grade Superzero 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
mmeckenstock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a delightful YA read, exposing typical middle-school struggles and fears, while inspiring readers to follow Reggie McNight (aka Pukey) in taking the higher road. Reggie deals with popularity and character issues throughout, as he attempts to stay under the radar of notoriety and overcome his alias, well earned during a presentation to the Clarke school body on the first day of school. Readers will love, laugh, and relate to real-life issues and colorful characters, such as Joe C¿s worthless factoids, Ruthie¿s zeal for global causes, Charlie¿s admiration for Reggie, and Donovan, Reggie¿s best friend-turned-nemesis. Pukey and his comical cadre of friends, and even his enemies, get involved in Olive Branch, a ¿temporary¿ shelter for the homeless, transforming the students and giving birth to the new, confident Reggie. Olugmemosola Rhuday Perkovich portrayed and addressed "tween" and teen struggles with amazing insight and humor, all without being "preachy." This easy-read book is such a refreshing find, especially appropriate to middle level readers. It would serve well in a book study in libraries, classed, character building/leadership pursuits, and youth groups. This is my honest review of an autographed ARC paperback of 8th-Grade Superzero, given to me by the author, Olugmemisola Rhuday Perkovich through GoodReads. Thank you!!
twonickels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿`When I was little I thought God was like a superhero,¿ I say, keeping my eyes down. He doesn¿t respond, so I look up. `I wanted to be a superhero, too. Not like I wanted to be God, I mean. Just¿ you know. I wanted to have some kind of power that zapped everything perfect.¿¿ (page 111. Quoted from ARC ¿ language may change.)That¿s Reggie. He writes about a superhero called Night Man, hangs out with his intensely socially-conscious best friend Ruthie, and mostly tries to stay out of the way in school. Apparently, he also likes to spend his time making unsuspecting librarians fall completely head-over-heels for him. I honestly can¿t remember the last time I was so charmed by a character. From the very first page, Reggie McKnight put some kind of vice grip around my heart and didn¿t ever let go.Reggie had no intention of running for class president. In fact, ever since a public speaking incident on the first day of school that led to his nickname ¿ Pukey ¿ Reggie has done whatever he can to stay out of the spotlight. He¿s certainly not looking for responsibility ¿ not in the school government, or at the homeless shelter where his church youth group volunteers. But other people in his life recognize what Reggie does not ¿ that his strong sense of empathy, his willingness to put others first, and his ability to work hard when he cares about a task make him a natural leader. And while his parents, teachers, and friends have never forced leadership on him, they are more than willing to push Reggie along when he finally decides that he¿s seen enough of the status quo and begins to seek out ways to foster change in his school and community.My favorite thing about Reggie is his willingness to change his mind. Not in a wishy-washy way ¿ in an open-minded way that many adults still haven¿t figured out. And when he screws up ¿ which he certainly does, sometimes ¿ he has the guts and the grace to admit to his mistakes and work to fix them. As Reggie figures out while talking to his partner in a Big Brother-type program, `Even Night Man makes mistakes.¿ `Even though he¿s a superhero?¿ asks Charlie. `Yeah,¿ I say. `Being brave enough to make mistakes is, um, um, part of what makes him a superhero.¿ There¿s a click in my brain when I say that. (page 184. Quoted from ARC ¿ language may change.)This is a book that doesn¿t shy away from touchy subjects ¿ religion, unemployment, race, homelessness, and bullying are all part of Reggie¿s story. But Rhuday-Perkovich has a light touch, and works with these topics in a way that is very personal and never without humor. Religion, for example, is an important part of Reggie¿s life, and is written about in a way that is forthright and positive while still allowing space for questions and doubts ¿ something that is too rare in books for children that have a religious element, which so often seem either blandly proselytizing or flatly anti-religion. (On a side note ¿ I do think this is changing, with wonderful books like this one, Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, and others coming out recently.)While Reggie¿s background as a Jamaican-American is central to who he is, it isn¿t what the story is about. Stories about slavery or racism can be great books, but those are stories that obviously can¿t be told without characters of color ¿ and those subjects are at the center of the majority of books for children that feature African-American characters. This is a story that could easily have been told with a white protagonist, and it¿s important that it wasn¿t ¿ kids of color have many experiences and stories to tell, and I hope that we will continue to see more and more books that reflect the variety of those stories. (Especially if those books are as good as this one!)While the topics that the book tackles are important and are handled with grace, it is the characters who make this book special. Every character is nuanced, and almost e
BookSwarm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up after multiple recommendations during a Twitter Chat (#YAlitchat). Maybe my expectations were too high but I was slightly disappointed. It's not that 8th GRADE SUPERZERO is bad--not at all! Actually, it would be a great book to teach in my 8th grade class. There are tons of lessons and research that I can totally see resulting from my students reading this book.But as a reader, I didn't want to be preached to. Which is what I felt like was happening through much of the story. Homelessness is bad/sad and anyone can be homeless. Stand firm in your beliefs. Look beneath the surface of those around you. It's hard to be out of work. Don't judge someone based on their race. Stand up for those who are weaker than you. (Not that I disagreed with any of the points Rhuday-Perkovich brought up in her book. I just prefer it to be more subtle, if it's done at all.)Reggie McKnight is a good character with a strong voice. He's the reason I kept reading the book. I wanted to know what happened to him. I wanted to know if he would be able to overcome the terrible nickname he earned the first day of eighth grade, when he threw up on stage all over the principal's shoes. I wanted to know if he would get the girl or would finish his comic book. And I wasn't disappointed. The main story was very engaging. But I got hung up on the subplots (the one with his sister was particularly muddy) and the lecture-y bits.It took me quite a while to finish this book, mostly because I got bogged down in parts, especially where the author was trying to drive home a point. When I hit one of those, I'd put this book to the side and read something else. But I always came back to it. While the author needs to work on her show-versus-tell, I would most definitely pick up another book by her.
skstiles612 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a middle school teacher I believe "8th Grade Superzero" is a book all middle school students should read. It really fits in with our population. We are an IB school and we have social service days every year as a requirement of our curriculum. Many of our students don't see how they fit in with this or why it is necessary. I think this book is a good demonstration of the whys and hows.Reggie McKnight's claim to fame came the day he puked all over the principal's shoes while on stage. He tries to stay low key but that doesn't really help. Two things essentially change his life and the way he sees himself. First he becomes a "Big Buddy" to a little first grader. The second is when he gets involved with a homeless shelter. This experience causes him to take his eyes off of himself and all of his own problems. When he does this he can see the needs of others. He decides to make it his mission to try to lift others out of their problems. This inspires his classmates to also begin making changes. They no longer see him as the kid who puked on the principal's shoes but as someone who inspired them. I plan on reading this to my students when I return this next week. I also plan on passing a copy on to the principal as an example of how we can get our students motivated for our service days.Great book.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reggie Knight¿s eighth-grade year did not start out well. An unfortunate incident earns him the nickname of ¿Pukey,¿ his old friend bullies him constantly, and his dad has lost his job. In between hanging out with his two friends, Ruthie and Joe C., and volunteering at the local homeless shelter, he has no time to worry about an upcoming school president election.However, getting to know the residents of the homeless shelter inspires Reggie to finally make his voice heard. He¿s pretty sure he has good and genuine reasons for wanting to be school president, unlike the popularity contest it usually is. But does Reggie have what it takes to redeem himself from his loser status and be the next school president? EIGHTH-GRADE SUPERZERO combines quality elements of literature into an incredible feel-good read. The varied cast of characters will win you over despite an oftentimes slow plot.Reggie and his friends are eighth graders, but readers of all ages can easily relate to their interactions and the issues they face. Reggie is a sympathetic self-labeled underdog who never feels secondary to us: he is bullied, but he also has an inner strength that we can recognize even if he cannot yet. Reggie¿s best friends, Ruthie and Joe C, are also fascinating and well-developed characters who could very easily be your best friends as well.While it contains a great message, the plot of EIGHTH-GRADE SUPERZERO is unfortunately very slow. It takes over half the book before Reggie decides to run for president, which gets exceedingly frustrating as Reggie continues not to take action up to that point. There are a number of secondary plots¿Reggie¿s friendship with a young homeless student, his increasing dedication to the local homeless shelter¿but, while they are well-developed, they more often than not took time that I think would¿ve been better spent focusing on and tightening the main story.Overall, however, if you have the time and patience to dedicate to this story, EIGHTH-GRADE SUPERZERO is absolutely delightful. This is a well-written story full of diverse (yet all fully realized) characters with lots of heart. I wouldn¿t hesitate to recommend this book to others, and look forward to seeing what this talented author has for us next.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Reggie would like nothing more than to spend all of his time with his best friend, Joe C., working on Night Man, their super-hero comic. The story ideas are all Reggie's and the artwork is Joe's. They are sure it's going to be spectacular. Something always seems to interfere with Reggie's plans. He somehow gets roped into acting as campaign manager for one of the most annoying girls at school. Vicky has him passing out flyers and putting up posters wherever there's a smidgen of empty wall space. Reggie has also started attending his church's youth group meetings. He's not really sure about the whole "God" thing, but he is finding the community service work surprisingly rewarding. The group is visiting a local homeless shelter and interviewing people about their experiences. Reggie is shocked to see a kid from his school using the shelter, and he finds himself connecting with him both there and at school whenever he gets a chance. His interview with an older homeless man inspires him to present the idea of more community service involvement at school. However, when he mentions his idea as a possible direction for Vicky's campaign, she is less than thrilled. Maybe Reggie should just run his own campaign. He thinks this stuff is important, but would it be possible to convince others of its importance? 8TH GRADE SUPERZERO offers a refreshing look into the world of middle school. There are the typical self-centered students, the bullies, and the jocks, but Reggie is an example of a misfit who just might have found a way to shine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago