Summary: 10 year old Brendan’s first summer after his grandpa Clem has died beings him into unexpected contact with another grandpa (Ed) that he has never before met. They share a love of rock collecting, but Brendan longs to get a straight answer from his parents or grandparents about why the families are estranged. Set against a backdrop of Brendan’s Taekwondo training, Brendan’s curious nature leads him to fill a scientific notebook with all the questions that he wants to find answers for.
Teacher Tube video book trailer (2:16)
You Tube – Video book talk (1:43), the username seems to indicate a college student doing the booktalk
Personal Reaction: I thought the pee experiment was funny (but some sensitive parents might not). Brendan certainly asked a lot of questions and I think more than a few kids might consider keeping their own confidential book of questions, hypotheses, etc. Are elementary kids learning “10 to the third power” phrases? I especially liked the weaving of the tenets of Taekwondo throughout which guide Brendan to analyze whether what he does is honorable. Best fortune cookie ever : “The one who forgives ends the argument.”
Points for discussion with children: bi-racial couples & children, racism, grief/loss, ethics & discipline (tenets of Taekwondo)
Possible classroom uses: scientific method, geology, martial arts
Realia: bicycle, pick axe, rock samples, blue belt w/ purple stripe and purple belt, martial arts uniform, agate
Food items connected to story: fried egg sandwich, sardines, ho-ho’s, root beer, mac-n-cheese, fortune cookie