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THE CRUISERS by Walter Dean Myers

THE CRUISERS

From the Da Vinci Academy series, volume 1

By Walter Dean Myers

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-439-91626-4
Publisher: Scholastic

In the first volume of a planned quartet, Myers introduces eighth graders Zander, LaShonda, Bobbi and Kambui, students at Da Vinci Academy, a middle school for the gifted and talented in Harlem, and staff of The Cruiser, an alternative to the school newspaper. The masthead on The Palette reads, “Education is a journey on the high seas of life.” Zander and the Cruisers say, “We weren’t on a journey, we were just cruising.” But when their history teacher invents a role-playing exercise dividing students into Union versus Confederate sympathizers, with Zander and company as peace negotiators, Zander doesn’t think much about it until the Confederates’ editorials in The Palette turn offensive. “Black from locks to ’Boks, from dreads to Keds,” Zander gets involved. Can a school newspaper print such inflammatory articles? Is it free speech? What is the proper response? A serious issue and a group of smart, likable protagonists make this an enjoyable inaugural volume, and readers will look forward to further tales of Zander and his friends as they navigate the high seas—or Cs, in Zander’s case—of middle-school life. (Fiction. 9-13)