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Finding Your Way in the World as the Janitor’s Boy

Finding Your Way in the World as the Janitor’s Boy

The Janitor’s Boy by Andrew Clements takes the normal tween feelings of being embarrassed by their parents to an extended level. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

All kids are embarrassed by their parents at one time or another and all kids have to deal with various kinds of peer pressure as they try to find where they belong in the world. These normal feelings are multiplied for Jack in our elitist society. Jack has to deal with the guilt of being embarrassed that his father is the school janitor. The journey to a more mature view and acceptance leads Jack to places he never expected to go.

From the Book Jacket:

Unfortunately, it also led to the perfect punishment. When Jack Rankin gets busted for defacing a school desk with a huge wad of disgusting, watermelon bubble gum, the principal sentences him to three weeks of after-school gum cleanup for the chief custodian. The problem is, Jack’s anger at the chief custodian was the reason for his gum project in the first place. The chief custodian happens to be Jack’s dad.
But doing time in the school basement after hours reveals some pretty surprising things: about the school, about Jack’s father, and about Jack himself.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany The Janitor’s Boy for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

Mop and bucket

This is a great book for kids who have dealt with feeling inferior to their peers (who hasn’t!) and for kids that have acted out in inappropriate ways trying to deal with their feelings. Many kids will relate to Jack’s inner struggles of acceptance of himself and his father and they will appreciate, as Jack does, that learning about their parent as a person outside of their kids reveals more than they ever imagined.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

What if you had a second chance to be a better person?

What if you had a second chance to be a better person?

What if you had a second chance to be a better person? That is the singular question in Gordon Korman’s novel, Restart. Chase Ambrose was a classic bully. A bully of the worst kind who terrorized fellow classmates and adults alike and who always seemed to get away with it, until…

Restart is a great novel to use in your classroom to address bullying issues and really help students think about how their actions affect others and ultimately themselves.

Restart was published in 2017 so it is a fresh and modern book that students can easily relate to.

From the book jacket:

Chase’s memory just went out the window.

Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name.

He knows he’s Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.

Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him. One girl, in particular, is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets.

Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.

I offer a full novel study for Restart that you can use with a whole class, small book groups, or individual students. It is easily adaptable and contains both a printable option and a Google Drive™ option.

Person falling off roof

Restart is a great book that really helps kids think about how their actions affect others and how this affects their reputation for the long haul. It’s a good resource to use for bullying prevention activities that isn’t preachy and will help students see their own character and help them want to “restart” themselves down the right and kind path.


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank

*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.