Being an elementary school librarian has its perks for a YA-minded person like me - it forces me to read children's books. And not just the highly literary, hey look I won an award-type books, but also the books that kids are actually reading and enjoying. Which brings me to the My Weird School series by Dan Gutman. Students gobble these books up - I don't how much of it comes from library promotion or peer pressure or comfort in a formulaic story; whatever the reason, they check them out repeatedly. I confess, until today, I had not read a single one. If you're unfamiliar with the series, the premise is fairly simple. A.J. is in second grade, and he's not shy to admit that he hates school. Each book introduces a teacher or administrator who acts as the catalyst for conflict and resolution in these humorous stories.
I mentioned it before, but I'll say it again, these books are funny and formulaic. And they're what some kids need. Especially reluctant readers or kindred spirits who don't think there's anything worth reading in the library. The kids who constantly check out joke books should check these out too. As a librarian, I understand the place that these books have in the library and in kids' lives. They hook non-readers. They allow students who may not be strong readers to read for pleasure and humor, within the confines of a very structured story with familiar characters. And they're not for everyone. Obviously. No book is. But I say this because some people, parents especially, need to be reminded that books in the library are as varied and diverse as students themselves. The collection is for everyone, but not every book will be the book for every child. And so Dan Gutman says so himself in a School Library Journal article entitled "How I Corrupted America's Youth." Check out the article - it's why I blogged these books in the first place. :) Happy reading!