By Leah Wolfe
Schooled, by Gordon Korman; Hyperion
Books for Children: New York, 2007; $15.99
Have you ever been the target of teasing? Or have you even been the one doing the teasing? Most of us have, as I’m ashamed to admit. But the story of Schooled, written by Gordon Korman, will teach you the true meaning and importance of peace.
I’ve witnessed certain people in my own school and neighborhood being bullied and harassed, heartlessly and thoughtlessly. I’ve heard biting remarks like “You’re an idiot,” and I’ve even seen violence. Just the other day, two boys at my school decided unreasonably that fighting was the best way to resolve a disagreement. That decision fought back with them, though, and I know for sure that at least one of them was sent to the principal’s office. We are the ones who are causing this, and we have total control to stop it. Sometimes, though, we simply choose not to.
I recommend Schooled for anyone, really, of either gender and any personality, no matter what age, because it teaches a wonderful lesson that is crucial for everyone to learn. If you truly commit yourself to making a difference in your and your neighbors’ everyday life, this story can give you the boost you need. It will help you realize how much better everything would be if we only tried to feel compassion for others and to judge them on their heart and soul, instead of on their appearance and social status. In fact, today’s system of being “nerdy” or “popular” wouldn’t even exist if friendship were blind, and if we could all patiently get along. Schooled will not allow you to tune these things out.
Capricorn Anderson has no sense of reality at all while he lives on a hippie commune called Garland Farm, with his hippie grandmother, Rain. He is homeschooled, and he rarely leaves his deserted community. (Well, it’s deserted except for Cap and Rain.) He learns to drive at the age of eight. He doesn’t remember who his parents were. They were killed volunteering for the Peace Corps when he was younger, but he had known them at some point. Still, they had blurred in with everyone else at Garland Farm because, there, everyone belonged to everyone.
How many people do you know well? You could have too many friends to count! At least I know that I have loads of people to value in my life. Unlike me, Capricorn only has one. The only human being that he knows well is Rain! Even with this being true, he isn’t lonesome. He doesn’t even know what it’s like to have several friends. So he’s perfectly satisfied.
But the tables are turned (and shaken wildly about) when Rain is thrust into the hospital, and Cap is thrust into public middle school. This thirteen-year-old is now the target of all of the teasing, but he never—not once—loses his temper. And when an awful prank is played, Cap is put in charge… and in trouble.
How does this peaceful character deal with his job as eighth-grade president? Well, I won’t give that away now. But you can find out for yourself by reading Schooled, by Gordon Korman!