Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth
Author: Jeff Anderson
Published August 4th, 2015 by Sterling Children’s Books
Goodreads Summary: Zack Delacruz is unnoticed at his middle school—and that’s just the way he likes it. But a school assembly, a typhoon of spit, and an uncharacteristic moment of bravery are all it takes to change everything. Suddenly Zack is in charge of the class fundraiser. Worse, his partner is the school’s biggest bully! If they don’t sell all the chocolate bars, there will be no dance for the sixth grade. Zack never wanted to be a hero, but with his classmates’ hopes on the line, can he save the day?
About the Author: Jeff Anderson is the author of Mechanically Inclined, Everyday Editing, 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, and Revision Decisions. Zack Delacruz: Me And My Big Mouth is his debut middle grade novel. A former elementary and middle school teacher, Jeff travels to schools across the country working with teachers and students to discover joy and power in the writing process. Jeff lives in San Antonio, TX. Visit him at writeguy.net or follow him on Twitter at @writeguyjeff.
My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: If I know one thing about middle school it is that it is a tough place. It can be a lot of fun, but at the bottom of it, being between the ages of 11 and 14 are just a rocky time for most people. Jeff Anderson captures that awkward time in Zack’s life perfectly. Zack has done everything in his power to stay under the radar at the school, but when he decides to do the right thing by standing up for a girl who is getting bullied, it pulls him into the forefront. I think this also shows how hard it is to stand up to a bully because it then puts a bulls eye on you, but Zack ends up handling it beautifully.
I did really like the easy diversity and true relationships in Zack Delacruz. I think it is such a real reflection of what middle school is actually like. Sometimes the bullying got to me, but that is how bullying is–it is uncomfortable and wrong, so if I felt that way that means it was written just right.
This is a book that will be a hit with middle school readers. They are going to so easily be able to connect with the characters and the story, and they will find some parts of it to be very funny. It also will make readers think about bullying, middle school, friendship, and more.
Discussion Questions: How does Zack evolve throughout the book?; If you were in Zack’s position, would you have stood up for Janie? Why or why not?; How did the one decision of standing up for Janie change Zack’s life?; Why do you think Jose acts the way he does?; Do you think Davy Crockett Middle School is a good representation of middle schools?; What do you think life is like for Zack and Janie after the book?
We Flagged: “A typhoon spray of spit. A stupid assembly. And my big mouth. That’s all it took to ruin my life.
If you’re a sixth grader at Davy Crockett Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, you start off every day in advisory. Besides cruel and unusual punishment, advisory is an avoiding game: avoiding eye contact, avoiding talking, and, so far, avoiding trouble.” (p. 1)
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**Thank you to Lauren at Sterling Publishing for providing a copy for review and giveaway!!**