A parents sent me screenshots of a book being read by an 8th grader in the Roxboro, North Carolina area. The book is Endgame by Nancy Garden. It’s rated by Gates funded Scholastic Books as being for 9th-12th graders, yet this 8th grader is now reading it. The book is described like this on the Scholastic site:
A new town, a new school, a new start. That’s what fourteen-year-old Gray Wilton believes as he chants,” “”It’s gonna be better, gonna be better here.” But it doesn’t take long for Gray to realize that nothing’s going to change–there are bullies in every school, and he’s always their punching bag. Their brutal words, physical abuse, and emotional torture escalate until Gray feels trapped in a world where he has no control, no support systems, and no way out–until the day he enters the halls of Greenford High School with his father’s semiautomatic in hand.
Award-winning novelist Nancy Garden, author of the groundbreaking novel “Annie on My Mind,” once again goes out on a limb, this time to show readers the cruelty of bullying and the devastating effects it can have.
The description fails to mention a boy being forced by a group of boys to perform fellatio on another boy. Yes, this is what I want my 8th grader reading. Good grief.
According to the Heart Based Language site, this is what Common Core critical thinking and close reading is all about. Then again, they have the book from the White House’s professional bully, Dan Savage, on their list too. It only gets better!
Note: I did not find this on the NC DPI suggested book list. These parents should take this up with their local school.
Fair warning, some graphic content: