Thursday, January 6, 2011
The Cruisers is the first book in Walter Dean Myers’ newest series. Although it is a quick read, this novel will make you stop and reflect on your own perspectives. Four students – Zander, LaShonda, Kambui, and Bobbi – call themselves the Cruisers. The eighth graders attend a gifted and talented academy called Da Vinci in Harlem. The Cruisers created an alternative newspaper for their school and are in hot water for the last article that they published and their low grades. As a consequence, against the assistant principal’s wishes, the principal of the school gives them one more chance. The eighth grade class is divided into the North (Union) and South (Confederacy) to study the Civil War. The Cruisers’ assignment is to make both sides compromise to prevent war. The Cruisers are pushed to the breaking point when some students from the Confederate side publish a demeaning article about slaves in support of seceding from the Union. This novel made me think about my own understanding of the Civil War and how we can make light of serious situations rather than take responsibility for our behaviors. Some of our 8th graders are currently reading The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers. His other works include Street Love, Monster, Slam, Fallen Angels, and Sunrise Over Fallujah.