Publishing Information:Hyperion Book for Children: New York, 2007 ISBN:9780786856923 / 978142310169 (PB)
Pages: 224 p. Ages:10 & Up
Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of public school.
Capricorn Anderson only knows life on a hippie commune with his grandmother, Rain. Through years of homeschooling, Cap knows how to grow the food and how to practice the art of Tai-Chi. But he has never watched TV nor had a friend his own age. When Rain is injured, Cap is required to attend the local middle school. When he is mysteriously elected class president, Cap assumes that the students like and trust him. What he doesn’t know is that it is tradition to choose the biggest nerd student to act as class president and wait for him/her to fail. Will he fail as most expect or will he be the best 8th grade class president that Claverage (C-average) Middle School has ever known?
Subject Headings & Major Themes:
Awards & Reviews:
Pacific Northwest Young Reader's Award Nominees, 2010
Sequoyah Award Nominees, 2010
South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominees, 2010
Texas Lone Star reading Lists, 2008
Booklist¸ August 1, 2007, p. 71 (Starred Review) Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007
School Library Journal, August 1, 2007, p. 118
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, October 1, 2007
Discussion Questions and Ideas: Questions:
Pretend that Zach and Cap were switched at birth. How do you think their personalities would (or would not) be different?
Change is a big theme throughout the book. Choose a character, and cite significant changes within him or her during the course of the story.
How would you react if a student like Cap walked into your school?
What was the author trying to accomplish by adding the character Hugh to the mix of characters?
Do you think buying Sophie the bracelet and pretending that it was from her father was the right thing for Cap to do? Why or why not?
Why do you think Hugh turns on Cap toward the end of the story?
On page 192, Naomi shares, “I wasn’t a nice person … then I started watching [Cap]. He showed me a whole different way to be.” Discuss a person in your life who has had a similar positive impact on you.
Why do you think Floramundi left Garland all those years ago?
What do you predict would happen in a sequel to Schooled?
Why do you think Korman chose to tell the story through the eyes of each character rather than just sticking with one person’s point of view throughout the story?
Explain the type of life Cap has bee leading at Garland. How is his life about to change dramatically? Have you ever daydreamed about being homeschooled? What do you think it would be like?
Where does Cap land while his grandmother, Rain, recovers? What so you think would be the most difficult thing for an outsider to understand about middle school life?
How is Cap treated by Sophie, Zach, Hugh, and Naomi? How do people decide whether to be cruel or kind to someone who is new? Do you blame Sophie for her reaction to him? Would you want Cap to be living in your house?
Hugh realizes that if weren’t for Cap he would be low man on the totem pole. “Better him than me” (page 32) do you think this is the theme of middle school? Do students put up with their peers being bullied because they’re afraid it might be them next?
What prank does Zach plan for Cap? Do you think this could happen at your own school? Why do people go along with it? In your opinion who is worse – Zach of Naomi? Why?
Cap is full of hippie wisdom like, “when you’re unkind to others, it’s usually because you don’t believe that you, yourself deserve kindness” (page 48) Do you agree with this statement? What about his other philosophical statements?
What is the turning-point event for Cap that changes how people perceive him at school? Have you ever known someone who acted heroically?
Why does Hugh think, “I was a worm, but at least I had the strength of character to be ashamed of it” (page 77) Does Zach realize that he’s being a worm too?
How does Cap make a connection with Sophie? What common interests do they share? How does he try to make up for her dad’s thoughtlessness? Does it work? Have you ever acted anonymously on someone’s behalf?
Mr. Kasigi admits, “I had long suspected how the kids went about picking their eighth grade president. And when I chose to look the other way, I was sort of putting a stamp of approval on it” (page 156) How does this decision blow up in his face? Can adults sometimes be complicit in the bullying that happens in school? Do you think Mr. Kasigi deserves what he got? Why?
What happens a the pep-rally assembly? Would this happen at your own school? Have you ever experienced other examples of group mentality? What do the students at school ultimately believe happened to Cap? How is it resolved?
Despite his experiences in middle school and his longing to return to Garland, once his is home, Cap suddenly misses his classmates and the chaos he has come to understand. How can some experiences change who you are? In the end, what do Rain and Cap decide to do? Do you think it is the right decision for Cap’s future? Why?
Cap has been home schooled by his grandmother. Make a T-chart to list the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling.
Cap's grandmother is a hippy from the ‘60's. Interview someone who grew up during that time period and make notes about what this person thinks was significant about the time period.
Create a new cover for this book based on a scene that you think would draw readers to the story.
Write 10 rules for survival in middle school. What should every student know before entering the doors of your school? After you’ve written the rules, write a brief journal; about your experiences coming to understand the rules.
Tie-dye, of course. Experiment with theis fun art form by trying out a variety of techniques. Wear your art proudly.
Explore the music of the 60’s and 70’s. What artists were your parents or grandparents favorites? Which songs have lasted through the decades to become classics or anthems of the period? Explore Rain’s playlist of songs from the period below:
The Times They are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan
The Weight – The Band
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Read-a-Likes: Babymouse Queen of the World! by Jennifer L. Holm, 2005 The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar, 1989
Can You Get an F in Lunch? by Nancy Krulik, 2007
Chicken Friend by Nicola Morgan, 2005
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, 2007
Diary of a Would-Be Princess by Jessica Green, 2007 Dork in Disguise by Carol Gorman, 1999 Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis, 2007 Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by Barbar O'Connor, 2003 The Gawgon and the Boy by Lloyd Alexander, 2001
Going Under by Kathe Koja, 2006
Goodbye, Amanda the Good by Susan Richards Shreve, 2000
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko, 2007 The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements, 2004 Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen, 2007 Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jim Benton, 2004 Lizzie at Last by Claudia Mills, 2000 Losers, Inc. by Claudia Mills, 1997 Marrying Malcolm Murgatroyd by Mame Farrell, 1995 Monster of the Month Club by Dian Curtis Regan, 1994
The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick, 2007
Never Mind!: A Twin Novel by Avi & Rachel Vail, 2004 No Talking by Andrew Clements, 2007
Oggie Cooder by Sarah Weeks, 2008
Pretty Is by Elizabeth Ann Holmes, 2007
The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O'Roark Dowell, 2004 Some Friend by Marie Bradby, 2004 Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, 2000 Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, 2008
Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan, 2002
What Would Joey Do? by Jack Gantos, 2002 The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, 2007 The Wish by Gail Carson Levin, 2000 Zen and the Art of Faking it by Jordan Sonnenblick, 2007
Other Books by the Author: This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall, 1978 Go Jump in the Pool!, 1979 Beware the Fish!, 1980 Who Is Bugs Potter?, 1980 I Want to Go Home, 2008 Bugs Potter LIVE at Nickaninny, 1983
No Coins, Please, 1984 Don't Car High, 1985 Son of the Interflux, 1986 A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag, 1987 Zucchini Warriors, 1988
Radio 5th Grade, 1989 Losing Joe's Place, 1990 I Want to Go Home, 1991 Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood The Twinkie Squad, 1992 The Toilet Paper Tigers, 1993 Why Did the Underwear Cross the Road, 1994 Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall, 1995 The Chicken Doesn't Skate, 1996 HeavyArtillery: I Was Junior Seau, 1996
Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, 1997 Quarterback Exchange: I Was John Elway, 1997
Running Back Conversion: I was Barry Sanders, 1997 Superbowl Switch: I Was Dan Marino, 1997 The Sixth Grade Nickname Game, 1998 Ultimate Scoring Machine: I Was Jerry Rise, 1998 All-Mars All-Stars, 1999 Nose Pickers from Outer Space, 1999 The Stars from Mars, 1999 Cup Crazy, 2000
The Face-Off Phony, 2000
No More Dead Dogs, 2000 (2002 RITBA Nominee) Planet of the Nose Pickers, 2000 Your Mummy Is a Nose Picker, 2000 Survival, 2001
Shipwreck, 2001 Escape, 2001 Invasion of the Nose Pickers, 2001 The Contest, 2001
The Climb, 2001
The Summit, 2001
Son of the Mob, 2002 (2004 RITBA Nominee)
The Discover, 2003 The Deep, 2003 The Danger, 2003
Jake, Reinvented, 2003 Max Comedy: The Funniest Kid in America, 2003 Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle, 2003 Born To Rock, 2005 Chasing Falconers, 2005 The Fugitive Factor, 2005 Now You See Them, Now You Don't, 2005 Public Enemies, 2005 Swindle, 2008 The Juvie Three, 2008 39 Clues: One False Note, 2009
About the Author:
Gordon Korman was born October 23, 1963 in Montreal, Quebec in Canada. He wrote his first book, This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall when he was 12 years old for a coach who suddenly found himself teaching 7th grade English … he later took that episode and created a book out of it, as well, in the Sixth Grade Nickname Game, where Mr. Huge was based on that 7th grade teacher.
His first book found a home with Scholastic, who also published his next 20 or so books, including six more Bruno and Boots titles, and several award winning young adult titles, among them my personal favorite, Son of Interflux. Scholastic still publishes many of Gordon's titles, though Hyperion Press is also now printing some of Gordon's stories.
Gordon eventually made one of his homes in New York City, where he studied film and film writing. While in New York, he also met his future wife, and they eventually married -- they now have three children. He now lives on Long Island, outside of New York City, has approximately 55 books to his credit, and is currently contracted for several more, including the six volume On the Run adventure series, and new young adult and children’s' titles.