Published in 2004. 224 pages.
2005 Newbery Honor Book.
2005 Printz Honor Book.
My first exposure to Gary Schmidt came a year and a half ago when I read the young adult historical fiction novel Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy with my son and his fifth grade book club. The writing is beautiful, and we spent a couple of weeks in the book club looking at similes and metaphors, personification, and imagery. Set in 1912 and based on a real event, the story also teaches important lessons about racism and doing the right thing.
Published in 2007. 264 pages.
2008 Newbery Honor Book.
This 2008 Newbery Honor Book (which is a prequel of sorts to Okay for Now) is a tender story of growing up and finding one's way in the world. The plot is centered around the main character's exploration of Shakespeare's plays under the direction of his seventh grade teacher. I'm a little too young to remember the Vietnam War, but that time period is used as an effective backdrop to the story.
Published in 2011. 360 pages.
What do Aububon's Birds of America, the Vietnam War, Jane Eyre, Apollo 11, and the New York Yankees have to do with one another? Each plays an important role in this fabulous exploration of "the transforming power of art over disaster," in a wonderful tale "about creativity and loss, love and recovery, and survival" (to borrow some phrases from the book jacket).
I simply cannot say enough good about this one! I will be surprised - and disappointed - if Okay for Now doesn't receive some awards of its own. By the way, I actually read it before I read The Wednesday Wars. (I don't think my reading enjoyment was diminished because of that, but I would have known a little about the main character of Okay for Now if I'd read The Wednesday Wars first.)