Jun 3, 2014

Review: All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall

Based on a true story, All of the Above is the delightful and suspenseful story of four inner city students and their quest to build the world's largest tetrahedron. Weaving together the different personal stories of the kids, their teacher, and the community that surrounds them, award-winning author Shelley Pearsall has written a vividly engaging story about math, life and good-tasting barbecue. Filled with unexpected humor, poignant characters and quiet brilliance, All of the Above is a surprising gem.

My review: No, this isn’t a new release, but one I would have been sorry to miss! I came across this book at a charity book sale, and must say this is one of the best middle grade stories I’ve ever read! Based on a true story, disgruntled and disillusioned math teacher Collins forms some kind of an after hours math club reminiscent of the breakfast club. Students who would never have hung out together (with some of them not even attending by choice!) tackle the construction of the world’s largest tetrahedron, a three dimensional pyramid comprised of smaller ones. Pearsall does an outstanding job switching narratives so each student gets to share their unique story. The characters truly come alive, including all their struggles living in poverty and broken homes, while fighting a society that has already written them off. This is their one chance to get their names into the Guinness Book of World Records, and finally be someone. A brilliant story, and a welcome break from the usual middle school dramas.

About the author: Shelley Pearsall grew up in the blue-collar Cleveland suburb of Parma where she began writing stories in her bedroom closet as a child. She sent her first story to a New York publishing house at the age of thirteen. Although the manuscript was never published, its themes of survival and freedom ultimately became the inspiration for Pearsall's first published novel, TROUBLE DON'T LAST, written twenty years later.
In 2003, TROUBLE DON'T LAST received the prestigious Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction among other honors. Pearsall's first contemporary novel ALL OF THE ABOVE was a 2007 ALA Notable book. Her books have received starred reviews and have been named Booklist Editor's Choice, New York Public Library Top 100, VOYA Top Shelf, Junior Library Guild, and have been nominated for numerous state reading award lists. In 2005, Pearsall was the Children's Writer-in-Residence for the James Thurber House.
Before becoming a full-time author, Shelley Pearsall was an intermediate and middle school teacher. She has also tried many unusual jobs over the years, including a Revolutionary War shipwreck archaeology project, working in an 18th century shoemaker shop in Colonial Williamsburg, and performing Great Lakes stories on an ore boat. Although she no longer works as a classroom teacher, she is a frequent guest author in elementary and middle schools where she does presentations and leads writing workshops on everything from Elvis to shoes.
Shelley Pearsall lives in Silver Lake, Ohio with her husband Mike, stepson Ethan, and a senior-citizen cat named Marbles.

Disclosure: I did not receive the item(s) mentioned in this post for free, but paid for it with my own money. Regardless ~ All my reviews are my honest and personal opinion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! Comments are always welcome!