Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Module 2: Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer

Bauer, Joan. Rules of the Road. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1998. Print. ISBN: 0-399-23140-4

“I always wondered why I had a father who was an alcoholic.”
“Now I knew.”
“It made me strong.”
“It made me different.”
“It showed me how to say no to the darkness.”

Jenna Boller is just a regular sixteen year old girl…except that she has to take late night calls from her drunk father, and will be driving the president of Gladstone Shoe Stores across the country, and she is trying to help save the company. Boiled down, it is bound to be a very interesting summer . What she does not realize is that she will meet people who will change her life forever and she will come back a different person.

Rules of the Road brings together an elderly president of a shoe company, a retired shoe model with a flair for fashion, a top shoe salesman, and a sixteen year old girl just trying to make it through the summer. By creating such a diverse group of characters, Joan Bauer has set her readers up for many laughs and many of life's hard lessons. The reader will be able to connect with many of the situations that Jenna has to deal with; whether it the alcoholic father or Jenna not knowing exactly who she is. School Library Journal’s review said, “The author creates some fabulous and sometimes flamboyant characters, witty dialogue, and memorable scenes, thus making readers really care about the intricacies of matching shoes to people and finding the right focus for Jenna as she strives to meet tall goals. Bauer's best yet.” By creating a setting that involves a road trip, Joan Bauer has subtly symbolized the journey that Jenna must make to become who she was meant to become. Although there are many bumps along the way, as well as some great companionship, Jenna decides that the hardest journey is the one you must take by yourself. "Now I see that it isn't the problems along the way that make us or break us. It's how we learn to stand and face them that makes the difference."

While a student is reading this, they could have a map of the United States out, and trace the journey that Jenna makes before she gets to Dallas. In each city or stop, have the student write on a post-it what happened there. By doing this, you have created a visual story map. You could also have them write a theme for each city so that they can understand the lessons that she learned.

Codell, Cindy D. "Rules of the Road." School Library Journal (1998). Title Wave. Follett Library Resources, 1998. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.

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