Sunday, April 24, 2016


Rhyme Schemer
After recently reading HOUSE ARREST by K.A. Holt, I picked up a copy of RHYME SCHEMER.  It had been on my wish list for awhile with the topic "bullying" noted next to it.  I'm so glad I final got around to getting a copy and reading it!

Kevin is twelve.  He is bullied at school and bullied at home.  At school his enemy is Robin.  At home the bullies are his brothers.

When Robin gets ahold of Kevin's poetry journal, the stakes become even higher.  Threats to show fellow students and even teachers what Kevin has written in a journal meant for his eyes only sends waves of terror through young Kevin.  Having gotten one suspension when he tried to retaliate for Robin's bullying, Kevin feels the journal becomes a method for blackmail that he will simply have to suffer through on his own.

Kevin truly feels he is alone for a number of reasons.  The bullying he suffers at home from his brothers is because his parents are both self-absorbed with their own careers.  He is commonly referred to as a "tag-along" and the "mistake," and there never seem to be any consequences for his brothers' bad behavior.  At school his one defender, a girl named Kelly, is battling great odds, since the principal and teachers seem to believe Kevin brings on the problems himself.  Even the librarian has it out for Kevin, or so it seems.  There just aren't any adults in his corner.

Spending time shelving books in the library as part of his punishment, allows Kevin to see that the librarian, in fact, is the one grownup who understands him.  Her own love of poetry helps create a bond between the two, and Kevin's world expands when she takes him to an open mic night at a local coffee shop. 

RHYME SCHEMER by K.A. Holt is an inspiring read for both young people and the adults in their lives.  Kevin's courage and determination demonstrate how the power of words greatly outweigh the power of the fist.  At the same time, Mrs. Little, the librarian, proves that a caring authority figure can make the difference between a child who succeeds and a child who fails.  Holt's simple poetic forms pack a powerful punch in the battle against bullies both young and old.

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