Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

Sonnenblick, Jordan.
New York : Scholastic, 2005
IL 5-8, RL 5.3
ISBN 0439755190

(8 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven's world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother's illness and his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece.  (Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award 2008)

Booktalk #2

13-year-old Steven has a totally normal life. He plays drums for the all-Star Jazz Band, has a crush on the coolest girl in school, and is constantly annoyed by his 5-year-old brother, Jeffrey. When Jeffrey becomes ill with leukemia, Steven and his family must cope with Jeffrey’s cancer. It affects the entire family but it is Steven’s life at school and with the band that changes the most.  (Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards nominee, 2008-2009)

Booktalk #3

What if you had a dream that you wanted to become a big-time drummer?  You're as into your music that you play as Amadeus Mozart! Your dream girl is hanging around you and your friends lately, yet she's taken already. She hasn't found out that your feelings for her are strong, but you feel the time coming soon. Just when you thought nothing can go wrong, the biggest bomb you could think of drops! Your dreams of a career and a girl just crushed in a moment. All of a sudden, your focus is based on your family crisis and you realize that you've forgotten about yourself. Can you even imagine how you'd feel? This may not be your true life, but what if it was? Wouldn't you just want to cry? Well, this is the realistic story of 14 year-old Steven, and that's about all he does lately. Not only does his brother Jeffy have issues, but Steven soon meets a new friend that he can finally connect to, Samantha. Yet, sadly, it all comes crashing down! To find out what almost ruined Steven and his family's lives, read the greatest realistic fiction novel Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick. (Sumer G., student)

Booktalk #4

Has anyone in your family ever been sick?  Of course, everyone has been sick before, but have you ever ridden in an ambulance on your way to the hospital every other day?  This is the life of Steven and his younger brother Jeffery.  It all started out with a nose bleed and some bruises, which turned out to be leukemia.  As time went on, Jeffery's golden locks began to fall out and his eyes lost their sparkle.  Can you imagine being Steven in this situation?  Now Steven's good grades are going down the tubes, he is the center of attention at school every day, and his mom and brother have to fly to Philadelphia every week.  In Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick, Steven faces embarrassment, girls, and drum solos along with Jeffery's dangerous pie.  Yuck!
I recommend this book for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders who are intrigued by surprise and interest.  This fascinating novel is realistic fiction.  (Caroline B., student)

Booktalk #5

Eighth grader Steven Alpert is on top of the world.  He’s been selected to rehearse and perform on drum set and congas with the All-City high school jazz band in their spring concert…they only take two percussionists and he is one of them. He’s crazy about Renee Albert who he thinks is the most beautiful girl in his class. And his good friend, Annette, who is a talented young pianist in the eighth grade, has also been selected to play with the All-City high school jazz band.

Life has a funny way of bringing up surprises. Suddenly Steven finds out that his younger brother, Jeffrey, has a serious life-threatening disease that he and his family must cope with. Steven deals with it with humor and bravery and realizes what it means to “be there” for his brother.

Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie paints a realistic story about a young man’s passion for music, concern for his family and an attraction to pretty girls. It is told with wit and comedy even though it deals with a serious subject. Hey, what is Dangerous Pie? Read the book and find out.  (Melissa Bowman,, Armstrong Middle School,  Lone Star Book Award nominee, 2006-2007)

Booktalk #6

The book Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick was both inspiring and full of life lessons.
 The story starts out with a fifteen year old boy, Steven Alper, who thinks his life can't get any worse. Between being a geek, having not many friends, and his five year old brother Jeffrey always embarrassing him in front of the most beautiful girl in school, his life is a drag. Steven soon finds out that could is about to get much worse. His brother Jeffrey has stage three leukemia.
 Follow Steven in this unforgettable tale of a boy and his brother facing the world one page at a time, in some pretty interesting ways. By the end of this book you will learn that, “You can't change the whole situation, but you could change your attitude about it.” In the words of Steven’s school counselor, Miss Palma.
 I recommend this book to anybody who can read at a fourth grade level and up. It is truly fascinating and I could read it again I hope you like it as well!  (Erin, K-12 student)

Booktalk #7

     Have anyone you know ever got a cancer or a disease. Well Steven is a ninth grader and living a normal life. One day he is making break feast for his little brother when he falls off a chair. Steven isn't very nervous but after 5 minutes and his nose is bleeding really badly. Stevens’s mom comes down herring this and has to take him to the doctors. The doctor says he has leukemia. The main character Steven starts failing school and can't keep focused. He has to get a school helper to help and figure out what is wrong. This year Steven is leader of his school band so all the donations for the band concert goes to Stevens’s family.

     This is great book to read it’s very exciting. Some readers that are into adventurous and sad books this are the book for you. This book gets you really into it and is very cool and I recommend it to you. Thank you for reading my review.  (Andy, K-12 student)

Booktalk #8

For thirteen ?year old Steven, life at school is not the best thing in the world; he’s too skinny, the girl he’s always liked has no idea that he’s alive, and his younger brother, Jeffrey, is a sweet-talking cutie pie of a four-year old whom every girl can't resist cooing at. His only relief is his drums, and man can he drum!

 But, when Jeffrey gets suddenly diagnosed with the deadly disease, leukemia, his world turns upside down. Long stays at the hospital, the losing of the hair and all that scary cancer treatments are only the tip of the iceberg. What will happen to Jeffrey? Will Steven be able to handle this new lifestyle? Will Renee, the girl he likes ever notice him? And what on earth is Dangerous Pie? These  questions and more will be answered when you read this amazing yet heart-breaking story. A story about how a boy becomes a man.
 I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates courage and the many gifts that could easily be taken away. Also for those who would willingly make dangerous pie and for those who would gladly eat it! ?  (Megan, K-12 student)

SUBJECTS:     Leukemia -- Fiction.
                        Brothers -- Fiction.
                        Self-realization -- Fiction.
                        Middle schools -- Fiction.
                        Schools -- Fiction.

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