Save Me a Seat is one of the most popular books in my library for grades 5th through 7th, and not just due to my recommendation. Weeks and Varadarajan tackle the complicated themes of bullying, cultural bias, race, and disability in such a sensitive, accessible way. Every student who reads it loves it and does well on the accelerated reader quiz, too. It is one of the books I hand to my reluctant middle-grade readers.
Ravi (pronounced Rah-VEE) just moved to the United States from India and is a top student. Joe has lived in Hamilton, New Jersey, his entire life, and sees the school’s resource teacher for help with an auditory processing disorder. Ravi and Joe have nothing in common except for their 5th-grade homeroom assignment and Dillon, the class bully. Still, it is enough to force a relationship between two unwilling boys hoping to survive 5th-grade.
Ravi and Joe take turns narrating the story with short, concise chapters. Short chapters are a dream for this age group. Students can read a chapter or two on the way to their extracurricular activities or just before bed. Sometimes, that short chapter peaks just enough interest to read one more short chapter…and then another and one more after that. The timespan is one week, which I thought was so perfect. Anyone who works at an elementary school knows that empires can rise and fall in 5 days. Spoiler: Dillon’s empire may or may not fall in a spectacularly gross way middle-grade students will love.
Educators, you can find resources for Save Me a Seat all over the internet. Sifting through all of it will be your biggest challenge, next to eating just one Naan Khatais cookie, the recipe for which you will find at the end of the book.
Details for Parents and Educators
ATOS Book Level: 4.8
Interest Level: Middle Grades (MG 4-8)
AR Points: 5.0
AR Quiz Number: 179997
Word Count: 31156
Topic – Subtopic: Behavior-Bullying; Emotions-Courage; Interpersonal Relationships-Friendship; Recommended Reading-Junior Library Guild Selection; School-Elementary;
(How is my social media sabbatical going? I just finished my 4th books for the library.)