Armstrong and Charlie are both sixth graders with issues. For Armstrong, it’s the fact that he’s being bussed out of his community to a white “opportunity school.” He’s not looking forward to it and only his parents feel that it’s a good idea. For Charlie, it’s that this is the year he’ll grow older than his beloved brother, who recently died and will never grow any older, plus his good friends are transferring to schools that aren’t “going downhill.” When Armstrong and Charlie meet, a clash is inevitable. Can they ever be friends?
Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, this story of two young boys from different worlds — one Jewish and privileged, the other African American and often short-changed — shows that usually we have more in common than what divides us. In turns both funny and poignant, the novel explores a particularly timely theme. With two strong male voices, the book makes an especially good read for boys.
Leslie Kimmelman grew up outside Philadelphia and graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont. She is the author of many children’s books, awards for which include Best Children’s Books of the Year from the Bank Street College of Education; Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies; and Sydney Taylor Notable Books. Kimmelman is an editor at Sesame Workshop and lives with her family just north of New York City.