Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SCRAWL by Mark Shulman

SCRAWL is the first hand account of a bully.  Tod Munn has finally been caught, and his punishment is a month of after school detention supervised by the school counselor.  While he is doing his time, she is requiring him to write in a journal, although Tod prefers to simply call it a notebook.

At first Tod responds to questions and prompts from Mrs. Woodrow, but gradually he writes freely about his escapades, his home life, and his feelings about being viewed at as one of the biggest bullies in the school.

Readers are given a look inside Tod's gang as they steal from and torment their fellow classmates.  Tod explains the incident that brought about his punishment, and as the story unfolds, readers will learn facts Tod never really wanted anyone to know.  Tod's detention experience helps him recognize his talent for writing as well as another hidden talent he has always taken for granted.

Tod's story is fascinating, but that's not all readers will take away from SCRAWL.  Author Mark Shulman creates a voice for Tod that provides humor and language play more mature readers will appreciate.  It is refreshing to find an author who challenges YA readers to think as they read.

SCRAWL is perfect for this week, No Name Calling Week, and bringing the issue of bullying to the attention of the teen readers who are often found at the center of this increasing problem.

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