Friday, September 1, 2017

Code 7: Cracking the Code for an Epic Life

By Bryan R. Johnson

Candy Wrapper    2017
104 pages     Children
The Shortlist

Just in time for the new school year. Bryan R. Johnson takes on creativity, original thinking, responsibility, bullying, and other elementary school concerns in the middle grade book, Code 7: Cracking the Code for an Epic Life. Jefferson practices his gift of art by painting a mural on the Flint Hill Elementary School wall. Sebastian tries to raise money for a computer game by making taffy—with disastrous results. Alec decides to defy his parents and not clean his room, ever. Samantha covets the part in the school play that Trista has bullied her way to getting.

Johnson identifies common elementary school challenges and helps young readers realize that the problems they face are not unusual and  can be solved with creativity and energy. Code 7: Cracking the Code for an Epic Life has an accompanying website with many features to use in the classroom or at home. The author suggests that each child create his/her own code word and share it on the website. There is also a discussion guide and suggestions for classroom activities. The book, website, and activities will be very helpful and inspiring for classroom teachers without being didactic. It seems that the book would work best in 3-5th grade classrooms.

The Kirkus review says: “Code 7 is a staple for every school library and a valuable resource for educators who wish to grow motivated and socially responsible citizens in the classroom. Fun, vivid, and easy to read, this book is about understanding your passions, choosing a project that inspires you, and applying that to those who might need a helping hand. How can one possibly go wrong with that?

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