Earle, Phil. The Bubble Wrap Boy, 278 pgs. Delacourte Press, 2014. $16.99. Language: PG (5 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: G. Charlie Han is small and accident prone. In middle school, those two things don’t make for a very good mix. Every time he makes a mistake, he gets completely picked on at school. When he discovers skateboarding, he has to secretly practice because his mom worries about his safety incessantly. When she finds out about his passion for the board and that he has been going to the skatepark behind her back, she is furious. He has to find a way to continue what he loves, without hurting his family at the same time, even after finding out a secret of his mom’s too.
This book could have been so much more likeable. I was disappointed that so much of how Charlie saw himself and wanted to improve himself focused on “being cool.” He definitely grows emotionally by the end of the book, but it is a very slow and shallow progression. I think kids at this age need more books that help them to really love who they are, even if it’s not the standard of cool. I wished this book did that a little more. EL, MS- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by Shay, School Librarian