Arm­strong & Charlie

Steven B. Frank

  • Review
By – December 19, 2017

Arm­strong and Char­lie are both sixth graders with issues. For Arm­strong, it’s the fact that he’s being bussed out of his com­mu­ni­ty to a white oppor­tu­ni­ty school.” He’s not look­ing for­ward to it and only his par­ents feel that it’s a good idea. For Char­lie, it’s that this is the year he’ll grow old­er than his beloved broth­er, who recent­ly died and will nev­er grow any old­er, plus his good friends are trans­fer­ring to schools that aren’t going down­hill.” When Arm­strong and Char­lie meet, a clash is inevitable. Can they ever be friends?

Set in Los Ange­les in the 1970s, this sto­ry of two young boys from dif­fer­ent worlds — one Jew­ish and priv­i­leged, the oth­er African Amer­i­can and often short-changed — shows that usu­al­ly we have more in com­mon than what divides us. In turns both fun­ny and poignant, the nov­el explores a par­tic­u­lar­ly time­ly theme. With two strong male voic­es, the book makes an espe­cial­ly good read for boys.

Leslie Kim­mel­man grew up out­side Philadel­phia and grad­u­at­ed from Mid­dle­bury Col­lege in Ver­mont. She is the author of many children’s books, awards for which include Best Children’s Books of the Year from the Bank Street Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion; Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Stud­ies; and Syd­ney Tay­lor Notable Books. Kim­mel­man is an edi­tor at Sesame Work­shop and lives with her fam­i­ly just north of New York City.

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