Scrawl by Mark Shulman

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  234

RAC:  Yes

Tod is a bully who has been caught sneaking into school property after hours.  His punishment is to go to his counselor’s office each night after school for detention to write in his journal.  At first he hates this, but eventually he comes to find it cathartic.  His counselor begins to see a whole new side of Tod and finds some answers as to why he acts the way he does at school.  He is very honest and smart in his journal and the readers learn a lot about his home and school life.   Can Tod find a way to change his ways and survive school without resorting to bullying?

The idea of bullying is a tough issue in any school.  This book does not in any way condone bullying, but does offer the suggestion that there may be some underlying causes that vary from student to student.  Tod probably opens up a little easier than most students would, but it is still interesting to see how his perspective on the journal changes with each entry.  This could be a great class read because it would open up a great discussion of treatment in school by all students as well as the many forms of bullying available, which now definitely includes technological bullying.  Recommended for boys and reluctant readers.

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