Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian

12-year-old Derek is looking forward to a long, lazy endless summer with his best friend, doing fun and crazy pranks involving water balloons and hand grenades (actually his mom's avocadoes). But then he finds himself enrolled in "Learning Camp" where he, an extremely reluctant reader, is made to do school work instead of hanging out with his best friend. When he discovers a ten-year-old article in the attic that talks about the death of a teenager on a beach in Martha's Vineyard, his mother's nervous, defensive reaction makes him suspicious. The less she wants to tell him about it, the more Derek becomes determined to discover why she's kept an old newspaper article for so many years.

This one is clearly geared toward fans of the Wimpy Kid series, with its reader-friendly journal-like format and lively illustrations. It has more depth than I expected, which was a nice surprise, a mystery to solve, and some adventure along the way. I particularly enjoyed the funny, clever little illustrations in the margins that Tashjian's son Jake draws to define vocabulary words used in the story. I find that this series is appealing to readers at my library, particularly boys, and it never stays on the shelf for long.

Books in the My Life series:
1. My Life as a Book
2. My Life as a Stuntboy
3. My Life as a Cartoonist

My Life as a Book (#1 in the My Life series) by Janet Tashjian (Henry Holt, 2010)


  1. Hooray for Wimpy Kid readalikes! I am going to keep this one firmly in mind, I have a couple of reluctant readers who have started to come to me for help. This sounds perfect, and I hadn't heard of it before. Thanks Darla!

  2. My pleasure, Kiirstin! Hope your readers find it appealing. It's nice so see relief on faces when you flip open a book to show them that it is not long pages of tiny daunting text, you know?

  3. This is a lighter version of Milo, Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze. I liked them both but I appreciate this one because one parent isn't dead or a deadbeat. It was serious without being too serious. (and I hate Wimpy Kid because it's awful)

  4. Josh - I agree. I tend to steer away from tragic death of a loved one books (not that Milo, Sticky Notes etc. didn't do a good job with it, just not a reading place I'd like to be in my free time, if you know what I mean). This one goes over great when I recommend it to kids at the library - it's very appealing with all those little illustrations.


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