Don’t Call Me Ishmael!

ishmaelRecently I have been asking a lot of questions about what makes good young adult literature, and lamenting that so many of them involve pretty serious and heavy themes. While it is good to allow young people a chance to work through some scary situations through reading books, it’s also a shame that so few of them are just honest, fun celebrations of life. If you are looking for something along these lines, it’s hard to go past Don’t Call Me Ishmael!
There were a number of laugh-out-loud moments in this, the first of Michael Gerard Bauer’s books about Ishmael Leseur. Ishmael, named after the narrator of Moby Dick, is bullied because of his name, and his general lack of confidence in life itself. But Year 9 is different – this year he makes new friends, stands up to the bullies and faces his fear of public speaking (not without a few defeats along the way as well though).
There is something that just ring true about Bauer’s portrayal of this awkward early-adolescent, and while clearly aimed at boys, would also be enjoyed by girls as well. Two more novels follow in the series, and I daresay a fourth will be on its way soon. Definitely recommended.

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