Ever since my friend Jessica introduced me to Joey Pigza, a book about a child with ADHD, I have been on a quest to find other books for tweeners and young adults that deal with the subject of learning disabilities. That’s why I was so happy that I found this book by Jacqueline Turner Banks called Egg Drop Blues (2003). Although I thought the title was kinda’ odd, I gave it a shot anyway.
Reading this book gave me a chance to expand my horizons to chapter books. I don’t recommend a book unless I’ve personally vetted them. It is vitally important that I be able to recommend books to my growing children and to my students. I have been searching for young adult novels that deal with disabilities. Not in a slap you in the face kind of way, but in a subtle, by the way, kind of way.
When I first read it, I thought that it needed a tad more information about dyslexia in there. Then I thought about what a tweener or young adult would want to read. If it was too boring, then they wouldn’t want to read it. In order for young people to want to read it, it had to have all the things that a good book has + a little information on the disability (without reading like a text book). In other words, it had to be a good book even if it didn’t have the information about dyslexia in it.
Did this book accomplish that? Yes, it did. I think that any young adult with dyslexia would enjoy this book. I haven’t asked anyone else to read this and critique it for me, so I can only give my opinion.
The book was an easy read. It met the criteria mentioned earlier of being able to stand alone, as if dyslexia were not part of the equation. I would use this book for bibliotherapy (book therapy). I definitely believe in bibliotherapy, especially for children. If you don’t know how to break some type of news, or if the child isn’t listening, books are one of the best ways to get information across.
Theme: sibling love, friendship, dyslexia, divorce, dealing with a disability, step-parents
Age range: 9-adult
Synopsis: Twins, Judge & Jury Jenkins, are the stars of this story. The story centers on Judge, the twin with dyslexia, who is not doing so well in school. Not wanting to split the twins up, but wanting to get help for Judge, their mother tells them that she is going to send both of them to a special private school on the other side of town where the bourgeois people send their children. Jury feels caught in the middle because he isn’t the one with the disability, his brother is. Judge doesn’t want to go to a special private school and neither does Jury. Judge asks if they can stay at their current school if he pulls his grades up. His plan: win the science fair egg-drop contest, for which his grade will be raised a whole letter grade if he and his brother places in the top 5.
In addition to all the drama going on with Judge & Jury, they find out that their father’s new girlfriend may be their new step-mother. Readers are invited along to discover if the twins will be able to win the egg-drop contest and stay in their current school. Will they win or will they have to go to the special private bougie school?
Recommendation: Yes, I would recommend that a tweener, teen, young adult, and parent read this book. I always tell my students that everyone likes to see themselves in a book. With this book, someone with dyslexia just might see themselves.