Shaky Man by Mark S. Parker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
*I received a copy from the author in exchange for my unbiased review.*
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Stay away from Shaky Man. Every kid in the small town of Tonkaway, Texas, knows that.
He eats little kids, murdered his wife, and mistreats his dogs, to boot. That’s what they say, anyway. Top doesn’t entirely know what to think about the rumors. He’s too busy settling into his new home, playing baseball and making friends—like Mickey, a black boy who soon becomes his best friend of all.
Everything changes when a shocking murder turns the town, along with Top and Mickey’s lives, upside down. Neighbors show their true colors. Shaky Man’s secrets are revealed. Through it all, Top learns again and again just how confusing and unfair the world can be. A tale of childhood set in the 1960s, Shaky Man timelessly reaffirms the basic goodness of humanity and the importance of friendship and compassion in the face of prejudice.
Rating: 3 Stars
Overall: A Great Educational Tool
Plot: Teaching kinds about racism
Page Turner: Yeah
Series Cont.? N/A
When I first started this book, I wasn't really what to expect, but I would have been wrong anyway. I did enjoy this story, and think it's a great tool to teach kids about racism in the 60s and how to handle them. What I didn't expect it religion is also a big topic in part. I personally didn't mind, but I know how schools are, and I would love to see this one the recommended reading, but I also feel it should be stated up front that it had religious undertones, and I didn't see anything that implied that, so here's your head's up.
This book, mostly geared toward young boys is a great way to open discussions about topics ranging from race issues, rumors, prejudices, justice and how the court works, to what it means to be a friend, and how you should treat people, not just those you like, and even religion. With a broad focus, this book covers many important topics, which to me left it a little spread out, but they were all handled well, and the story overall is a fun and easy read, and although it doesn't dig very deep into any of the major topics, it does open a door to all ow parents and educators to then start a conversation to dig deeper with children.
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About the Author:
For those of you who don’t know me, I spent my early years in Waco and graduated from Belton High School and Texas A&M back in the 70’s. This Central Texas boy married a West Texas girl, Ann Becker, in 1977. We moved to Midland, her hometown, in 1980 when I received my Master’s degree. I went to work for Gulf Oil as a landman and was just happy to have a job. I’ve been a landman ever since. Sometimes with a company and sometimes independently. Our four children grew up in Midland. We now have five grandchildren. I’ve always enjoyed books, words and letters. My writing, until recently, has been for family, friends and church. A couple of years ago, about the time our grandchildren started coming along, my muse took off and I started writing books and songs for children and young people. I'm having a ball.