Jack Strong is a fairly typical middle school student. Like many of his peers in the real world, this fictional character is overscheduled. His parents see the necessity of being a well-rounded young man. They are also eager to ensure that he is properly prepared for college. Sound familiar?
Jack participates in sports, music, and language lessons. If there is a void in his schedule, his parents – well, his father – are eager to fill it. Jack Strong Takes A Stand is a story by Tommy Greenwald, author of the Charlie Joe Jackson series, filled with humor, reality, and solutions.
Greenwald’s buddy, Jack Strong, finally stands up to his parents and their need to crowd his calendar. He does this by sitting down – on the couch – in his house – and refusing to get up. He sits on the couch for ten days, getting up only to get food or to use the bathroom.
Jack Strong soon becomes a hero and a villain in the town around Horace Henchell Middle School. Many of his fellow students support his efforts, as well as several adults who had been overscheduled when they were children. There are also others – parents and teachers – who resent his point of view including the young man who scoops ice cream at the local ice cream parlor. As a young child, he yearned to participate in enrichment activities that his family could not afford and believes Jack should be appreciate – seizing it all.
Jack Strong Takes A Stand is a funny book! It is outrageous and entertaining in one easy to read bundle. I guess Tommy Greenwald has experience in the “good book” department, and I look forward to reading his other books.
The icing on top of this wonderful book is that there is a powerful lesson for students and parents alike. As I was reading Jack Strong Takes A Stand and relaying the storyline to my children (currently ages 12, 11, 8, 7), they were eager to get their hands on this book. We are currently drawing straws to see who will get to read it first.
At the end of the story, Jack’s grandma – Nana - (his most stout supporter) sums it up: “Life is short, Jack. Too short to be doing things you don’t want to do. But way too short to not be doing anything at all”. Nana’s insight is a reminder to those of us who underschedule our children in an attempt to avoid overscheduling that we also have a responsibility to help our children discover their passions in life.
My gratitude to Tommy Greenwald for addressing a topic I feel passionate about and for doing so in such a joyful way.
I received a review copy of this book from Raab Associates.
You can purchase a copy of this book at Amazon: