Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald

December 9th, 2011 by Brian Leave a reply »

This is a funny book for a librarian to carry around.

This is a funny book.

Charlie Joe Jackson has avoided reading a book for all of the years that he’s been in school. He has paid off his friend, Timmy, to read books for him: one ice cream sandwich per book. At the start of the story, Timmy raises his price until finally he refuses. Charlie must create an elaborate scheme in order to finish the final project of the year, a position paper where he must read a lot of books and write a big essay, and yet maintain his non-reading streak. His fans would expect nothing less.

The voice in this book is awesome. Charlie definitely sounds like a non-reader, which then helps non-readers read the book. Sometimes I have to sell a book’s concept to a student so that they’ll endure to the end because they trust that I know what I’m talking about. Charlie Joe Jackson speaks with authenticity that needs no help from me. Also a bonus are the short chapters, illustrations, and the 25 tips that give funny sidenotes to the story. My only nitpick is that sometimes the descriptions didn’t line up with the illustrations. No big deal, but I thought it was a little odd.

Librarians, read the book. It’s an easy recommendation to students that accomplishes what it set out to do – getting non-readers to read, despite Charlie Joe Jackson’s best efforts. This is not a sappy book, though. Greenwald pulls no punches in making fun of other books and airing complaints from reluctant readers.


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