Zack Delacruz is unnoticed at his middle school—and that’s just the way he likes it. But a school assembly, a typhoon of spit, and an uncharacteristic moment of bravery are all it takes to change everything. Suddenly Zack is in charge of the class fundraiser. Worse, his partner is the school’s biggest bully! If they don’t sell all the chocolate bars, there will be no dance for the sixth grade. Zack never wanted to be a hero, but with his classmates’ hopes on the line, can he save the day?
About the Author
About the Author: Jeff Anderson is the author of Mechanically Inclined, Everyday Editing, 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, and Revision Decisions. Zack Delacruz is his debut middle grade novel. Jeff grew up in Austin, Texas, and learned to love writing by journaling and crafting stories to entertain his friends over the phone. A former elementary and middle school teacher, Jeff travels to schools across the country working with teachers and students to discover joy and power in the writing process. Jeff lives with his partner, Terry, and their dogs, Carl and Paisley. Find out more about Jeff at writeguy.net or follow him on Twitter @writeguyjeff. Jeff lives in San Antonio, TX. About the Cover Illustrator: Tad Carpenter is a children’s book illustrator, designer, graphic arts teacher, and cofounder of Vahalla Studios, a screen printing studio whose clients include Myspace, Ray-Ban, Polo, John Mayer, The Shins, Wilco, and Neil Young. He lives in Kansas City, MO. About the Interior Illustrator: Andrea Miller is an illustrator, a children’s book designer at Sterling Publishing, and a graduate of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She lives with her wife, her six bookshelves, and a box of ink and brushes. Zack Delacruz is her first children’s book. Find her work online at andreacmiller.com. Andrea lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Trusted Author: Jeff Anderson has written several professional books, all of which I personally own, to help teachers teach grammar and writing. I’ve used both Mechanically Inclined and Everyday Editing with my tenth grade classes. There’s no author I trust more than one who has been or currently is a teacher. Friendship: The book has several characters that you would see any day in any middle school. Certain students who are not “popular” get the raw end of the deal when it comes to a social life, but genuine friendship beats every tortuous day of middle school. Zack has a best friend named Marquis, and by the end of the book, he’s obtained a few unlikely friends. Say “No” to Bullying: While the book does have a definite anti-bullying message,, Anderson doesn’t beat you over the head with it. Instead, readers watch as Janie and Zack are bullied constantly, and they have to earn (in a sense) the admiration of those who bully them. When Zack stands up for Janie, this is a defining moment for both bully and victim, and this sets Zack and the other characters on a new path--one they don’t want but appreciate later. Janie and Jose: While Zack is the main character, my two favorite characters were Janie and Jose. Perhaps because I am a teacher and love the quirky kids, those with that extra bit of personality that can drive you crazy on a stressful day or make you laugh just when you need it. Also being a movie-lover, I loved Janie’s movie quotes, which she had for every situation. The anticipation for Janie’s quote by the other characters definitely made me chuckle. Jose, though an obnoxious bully at the beginning of the book, has his flaws but I can also see that those flaws probably stem from home problems. Perhaps he doesn’t get enough food at home or have the best clothes so he acts out. I see that kid every year. Diversity: I especially appreciated a diverse cast of characters. While their races are hinted at through dialogue, dialect, and yearbook photos, each character has a unique personality that will easily represent a lot of different kids, which is a key for struggling readers. Maybe it takes a teacher to see this, as Kirkus Reviews, abhorrently called this book “forgettable.” I guarantee for many kids, this book is far from that.
This is a wonderful book to add to your literacy library! It will be great for kids of ALL ages and levels of reading sophistication and will CERTAINLY appeal to your reluctant readers too as it is high interest, funny, and very relevant. I have been in education for over 17 years and I will definitely be sharing this book with students and teachers alike. Furthermore, in terms of the theme of the book, overcoming bullying and having the courage to stand up and be who you are...this book takes on a personal interest. As a kid, I was a desperately misunderstood misfit with MANY of the same problems as Zack. It is a relief t get to laugh about them and to realize I wasn't (and still may not be) the only weirdo in the world. this book has a lot of heart.