Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Looking for Newbery - Day 25

First of all, let me say -- whoops!! Sorry we missed a day yesterday, but we're back all week, up until the Newbery Awards are announced next Monday!!

I heard about The Last Invisible Boy by Evan Kuhlman when Anokaberry posted a list of her top reads for middle grade readers from 2008. There were several books I hadn't heard of, but this one really appealed to me.

The Last Invisible Boy was an amazing read. From the front cover, and by flipping through pages, I thought this book would have similarities to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I enjoy the Wimpy Kid books, but this book is much deeper than those.

This story is about a boy, trying to lead a normal life, after a tremendous loss in his life. Unfortunately, he feels he is disappearing, and has some physical signs this might be true -- black hair turning white, and skin growing paler every day. Very intriguing stuff.

It is a great storyline, and one I don't plan on ruining for you here. But just let me say that the storyline is NOT the only reason I fell in love with this book. Here are just a few other reasons you really should read this book:

1) The voice in the story is amazing. It is written in first person, but it is written in a way that you feel the main character, Finn, is talking right to you.
2) I don't know exactly what goes on in the minds of boys, but I have to believe that the way Kuhlman writes Finn's thoughts might be accurate.
3) Finn, the main character, has a love of words, but he especially loves knowing what names mean. Every time a new character comes into Finn's story, Finn tells the reader what that person's name means. His full name, Findlay, means "fair hero" or "small blond soldier". His middle name, Abner, means "my father is light".
4) The setting is in Ohio, and when Finn's family goes to the "big city", they're headed to Columbus ( where I live).
5) It deals with a friendship between a boy and girl as they start to notice each other in a different way, without being too mushy.
6) The first page:

"My name is Finn Garrett and this is my book and this is my story.
It is a story about losing something.
No, it's a story about sudden change.
Or it's the official autobiography of The Last Invisible Boy. Me.
There will also be some silliness, lots of my sucky drawings, a pop quiz and fun homework assignments, three or four family photos, and a few of my favorite memories. Caution: Sometimes this story will get a little sad. But it won't always be sad.

This book. It's like I'm driving a school bus but my legs are too short to reach the brake. It's a runaway bus so anything can happen."

I loved The Last Invisible Boy. It will definitely have a place in my classroom library!! I would definitely throw it into a Newbery hunt, as well.


  1. Karen - what a heartfelt review. Isn't that book wonderful? I am so glad I was able to suggest it to you!

  2. Okay, this "Looking For Newbery" series is costing me far too much money!

  3. You are making it really hard to keep my New Year's Resolution was not to buy so many books! I really was going to use the library more.

  4. Nan -
    Thanks for your list which got me to this book!

    Franki -
    Like you haven't cost me a fortune through the years??!! :)

    Stedman -
    I actually got all the books I read from the library first (sort of a resolution for me, as well). I just know this is one that should live in my classroom, so I will have to buy it. :)