How We Select Boomerang Books
The Boomerang is Brave Writer’s monthly digital product that features a classic work of fiction each month. These novels are used to teach the mechanics of writing (grammar, spelling, punctuation, and literary elements) to students, usually 8th grade and above.
Sometimes Boomerang book selections contain mature language or themes, and parents have asked why we chose them. We share below how we select all the books on our list.
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We pick books because we love them.
For instance, I’ve read The Thing About Jellyfish (and sobbed my little heart out at the end – such a tearjerker of mother’s love!). The novel is the story of a middle school aged girl struggling to process her grief at the loss of her best friend from childhood (death by possible drowning). The writing is gorgeous and the attention to detail, astonishing.
The books also represent the following criteria:
Quality literature (good writing).
For example, the 2017-18 books include Newbery Medal winners and National Book Award finalists.
- various viewpoints
- diverse ethnicity
- diverse time period
- classics and modern
Both male and female protagonists.
Variety of genres.
- first person narrative
- third person narrative
- historical fiction, etc.
That’s how books make it to our list.
What I often say to parents is this: select books that both feel right for your family (your values) and those that stretch you to include viewpoints you aren’t familiar with. Even when you disagree with something, it is worth it to read and discover how others see the world and to appreciate how their point of view feels to them. Reading a book is not the same as agreeing with a viewpoint.
That said, we encourage parents to make their own judgments. The Boomerang will address the writing. That’s our focus.
Teens are invited to join our virtual book club! Rather than reading in isolation, without the benefit of examining the writing and the layers of meaning novelists intend, The Boomerang Book Club provides a forum for that opportunity.