07/15/2020 / Review

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

I truly believe that the best way to find out about a book is through sharing our reading. This is a practice I use in my classroom as we all share out what we are currently reading. 
How lovely it was one afternoon when a former student stopped by after school to visit. It was during our conversation that it struck me how the impact of what we share as educators lives within our students long after they leave us. My student  had been wanting to come to  share a book that she had just read because it reminded her of her fifth grade class and me. 

"Me?" I asked. 

"Well, the teacher in the book is a man, but the way the students feel about him is the way we all feel about you," she replied. "Also, some of the characters in the story I could definitely put the face to from kids in our class."

Okay, not only did this student take the time to come visit me, but she was excited to share a book? This was a book I had to read. 

Because of Mr. Terrupt by Rob Buyea is the story of a fifth grade teacher who made a huge impact on the lives of his students. The story takes a tragic turn that makes the students learn some life lessons and come together. 

The students are a cast of characters that could easily be sitting in any fifth grade classroom. They include: Alexia, a mean girl with a past that later explains why she acts this way; Peter, a trouble maker/prankster who will surprise you when another side of him is revealed; Jessica, the new girl who is trying to fit in and adjust to her family situation; Luke, the student who is considered "the brain" and will teach you about "dollar words"; Anna, the shy, sensitive girl who has trouble standing up for herself; Danielle, the sensitive, chubby, plain girl who struggles with how she looks and prays to God often; and Jeffrey, who hates school and has a secret that is later revealed that explains his outlook. The teacher is Mr. Terupt who is the new fifth grade teacher who seems to be able to make all of his students feel welcomed and creates a classroom full of fun and learning. 

I've since read this book as a read aloud to my fifth grade class. It has provided a stage for many great conversations. I might add that it has also made a few students consider how they treat others. This book is the first of three Mr. Terupt books by Rob Buyea. There is a fourth book Goodbye, Mr. Terrupt that will be released in the fall of 2020. 

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Kathleen Palmieri

Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher, a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Learning Facilitator, and a fifth grade educator in upstate New York. She reviews professional texts and writes education articles for Middleweb. As a writer with a passion for pedagogy, Kathleen's focus is on education practices and strategies, as well as her own experiences as an educator. She has presented at math conferences, writing workshops, actively collaborates in literacy projects, and networks globally.