Jack Strong Takes a Stand
What You Need to Know:|
• Jack Strong decides that going on strike is the only way to end his over scheduled days.
• Short chapters, simple sketches, straightforward language, and entertaining dialogue keep the story moving quickly.
• Parents, read this one with your kids! It's a great starting point for conversations about family values, goals
• References are made to Jack's friend, Charlie Joe Jackson, another Tommy Greenwald character who also happens
to be the star of his own book series.
• Fun fact: Tommy Greenwald has three kids and their names are Charlie, Joe and Jackson. You don't really need to
know this, but I just think it's cute!
"Life is short, Jack," said Nana. "Too short to be doing things you don't want to do.
But way too short to not be doing anything at all."
Jack Strong is quite the character! He's funny and interesting in his own way, but he doesn't stand out among his middle school peers until he decides to sit down - permanently. You see, Jack's dad is convinced that you need to be "well-rounded" to get into college, so he's filled Jack's afternoons with every possible activity you can imagine. One day it all gets to be too much for Jack. He goes on strike, refusing to leave his couch. He tells his parents that he won't budge unless they agree to let him drop some of his countless after school activities.
That shouldn't be too hard for a kid who calls himself a "couch potato", right? At first, he enjoys his days doing yoga with his Nana, playing video games, and watching movies. When the school paper prints an article titled, "…Student Takes a Stand by Taking a Seat", Jack becomes the center of a lot of attention. The cool crowd comes by to hang out. His crush, Cathy, takes an interest in him, and a local TV host even wants him on his show. It's not all good, though. His parents are fighting, his dad is furious, and his days are getting boring. What will it take to get Jack off that couch?
Just like Jack gets people talking in this book, his story can get us talking in real life. Over scheduling is a hot topic for both parents and kids, so everyone can relate to Jack's "protest against parents locking their kids in the prison of overactivity". Jack is like so many kids out there - he's average. Well, he's average at some things that people think are important, like sports or Chinese, but it turns out that he's also exceptional at just being himself. The question is whether or not there's a place for that kind of achievement in today's highly competitive world.
2013, 240 pages
Books for Boys, Cliques/Popularity, Determination, Family Life, Friendship, Identity
• Do you feel like you have too many after school activities in your schedule?
• How do you handle it when you're unhappy about something your parents want you to do?
• Why does Jack want to quit some of his activities?
• Would you rather sit on the couch or play outside?
• How could his parents have handled the situation differently?
• How do Jack's mom and dad differ in their parenting styles?
• What role does Nana play in the story?
• How could Jack have gotten the same result without going on strike?
• How does popularity play into Jack's decisions?
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