Browse By

       Follow Me on Pinterest

Tweets by @sweetonbooks

In accordance with FTC Guidelines, Sweet on Books would like to tell you about
the books that we review. While we often purchase our own books, we do also receive free books from publishers
and authors. We are never compensated for our reviews.

Unsubscribe from our newsletter





Capture the Flag
Kate Messner


Sweet Sites for Children's Books

Seven Impossible Things...
100 Scope Notes
A Fuse #8 Production
A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Books 4 Your Kids
Chicken Spaghetti
Charlotte's Library
From the Mixed-Up Files...
Jen Robinson's Book Page
Just One More Book
Literacy Learning Zone
Mid-Grade Re(ad)action
Middle Grade Mania
Ms. Yingling Reads
Nerdy Book Club
Pragmatic Mom
Smack Dab in the Middle
The Book Smugglers
The Children's Book Review
The Guardian: Children's Books
The Miss Rumphius Effect
The Reading Tub
There's a Book
Through the Looking Glass
Waking Brain Cells
Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading (series #1) PDF Print E-mail

What You Need to Know:
• This book introduces readers to Charlie Joe Jackson. Book 2 was released in August, 2012, and a third is on its way.
• It is a story about a boy who seriously hates to read. He'll do whatever it takes to get out of reading.
• The characters are in middle school and show an interest in boy/girl relationships, but it's all very innocent.
• This story should appeal to both boys and girls.
• Short chapters, Charlie Joe's Tips, and sporadic illustrations keep the pages flipping quickly.
Sweet Book Summary:
Do you have a reluctant reader? Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading will feel like it was written just for them.

To those kids, Charlie says, "I know exactly how you feel; I'm one of you. Just remember: you are not alone. We'll get through this together."

Don't be fooled by the title, though. Even if your reader isn't reluctant, he or she will relate to Charlie. His story has something for everyone. Yes, Charlie Joe is proud of his record of not reading a single book, and he will do pretty much anything to keep it up. Yes, he pays off his friend, Timmy, with lunchroom snacks in exchange for book summaries, and yes, he even sets up his long-time love, Hannah, with his buddy, Jake, in exchange for Jake's cliff notes. But, Charlie Joe shares much more than a tale about the horrors of reading.

Charlie is honest (to the reader, not to his parents or teachers!) and straightforward as he shares his thoughts (which are usually quite hilarious) on relationships, cliques, teachers and family. He explains his point of view on a lot of basic middle school principles. For example, he realizes that in middle school, having a girl for a best friend is no longer technically acceptable, but Katie Friedman is still his "go-to" person. Why? Because, as Charlie says, "I've found that in matters of feelings and thinking, girls seem to have a handle on things that guys just don't. They seem to care more. Or maybe they're just less afraid to admit it." His thoughts on girls in general: "They like it when a guy gets teary...", they "love the gentle hand on the shoulder. It's brotherly, but manly." and "...pretty girls think being pretty is like a license to talk loud." Charlie's view on sports? "In youth sports these days, the best athletes play one sport all year long, almost like a job. It's crazy."

Charlie also offers tips like "Reading Can Make You fat" and "Always Be Wary of the Plot Twist". Under tip #8, "Not All Books are Bad", Charlie includes the rare books that he approves of - comic books, yearbooks, checkbooks and Facebook. He even offers some advice to parents: "If you want us to be able to concentrate, don't take away our distractions." Charlie Joe points out the formula that most books follow, and then tries to steer clear of those pitfalls.

The beauty of Charlie Joe is that although he does the wrong thing, he handles it with humor, grace and charm. He's not a total slacker, he is not predictable, and although, at times, he seems to have no conscience, he does have redeeming qualities. He's a good friend, he likes his family, he's not swayed by the opinions of others, and he even takes responsibility for his actions. He's very authentic and somewhat flawed, which must be why my daughter said that this book feels more real, versus Diary of a Wimpy Kid which feels more like a comic book.
Author: Tommy Greenwald Illustrator: J.P. Coovert Published: 2012, 240 pages
Themes: Books & Reading, Books for Boys, Cliques/Popularity, Humor, School
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• Would you like to be friends with Charlie Joe?
• Why doesn't Charlie Joe like to read?
• What do you like or dislike about reading? Do you prefer a physical book or an e-book?
• Do you think that Charlie Joe's popularity experiment would work in your school? Why or why not?
• What does Hannah like about Jake?
• Why doesn't Charlie Joe like Eliza?
• What do you think the future holds for Charlie Joe and Katie?
• Does Charlie's punishment fit his crime?
• Will the punishment change the way Charlie Joe feels about reading? Why or why not?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney
My Life as a Book, Janet Tashjian
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Tom Angleberger
This recommendation was written by: Melissa G.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound

Your name:
Your email: