Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Whole New Ballgame

If your school is anything like ours, your kids are dealing with the transition to common core, the individual learning plans and more skills based grading systems.  It is a lot of new stuff to take in.  The book I am profiling today takes a look at this new system from a kid's perspective.  We parents aren't the only ones adjusting to a change.

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Title: A Whole New Ballgame

Author: Phil Bildner

Target: Grades 4-6

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Rip and his best friend Red are starting fifth grade and they expect to have the same teacher that every kid at their school has had for fifth grade for the last 25 years.  But when they enter the classroom they are confronted with Mr. Acevedo who is nothing like what they expect.  He doesn’t believe in tests or homework, he doesn’t like to be disturbed while reading and he assigns class project that are well … nasty.  How will this new year go when everything they are used to is turned upside-down?

Why I love this book:  
The thing I really loved about this book was the diverse cast of characters who felt genuine and not gratuitous.  Rip is African American, Red is on the autism scale, and there is even a classmate Avery who is in a wheelchair.  While often these range of characters feel contrived, in this setting they were well integrated and appreciated in the storyline.  That is not always easy to do and Bildner was quite adept at building a diverse community.

This book definitely has an education agenda.  Bildner is not a fan of testing or worksheets or homework for that matter. He is also a fan of inspired teaching (but frankly who isn’t?)  Since so many schools are moving to common core, this is a nice way to introduce the changing curriculum to kids without feeling preachy.  They will really enjoy some of the new methods.

The book is also centered around a basketball tournament and I think this will be a good draw for kids.  So many sports books are focused on baseball, but I find a lot more kids play basketball and while I don’t understand all the screen plays and cuts to the hoop, kids who play the game will be pleased.

Who this book is for: 
Great for kids who like realistic fiction.  Kids who enjoyed books like Because of Mr. Terupt will also enjoy this one.

Final thoughts: 
Teachers may also enjoy this book as much as kids.  They will certainly relate to reduced funding, testing and parental pressure!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon:A Whole New Ballgame (Rip and Red)  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.


  1. The thing that adults forget is that in three years, the students will think Common Core is normal, but teachers and parents will still be struggling. This had its moments

    1. You are so right. I find that parents always have a longer transition time than kids!