In this semi-autobiographical novel, Vince Vawter shares his story of being an 11 year old boy during the late 1950s. Like many boys his age, he loved baseball, and he could throw a mean fastball. However, he stuttered when he talked. Paperboy (Lexile: 940; Interest Level: Grades 5-8) is the story of the summer that Vince took over his friend Rat's paper route. Rat's real name was Art, but Vince called him Rat because it was easier to say. Vince was good at delivering the papers, but he was nervous about talking to the people on the route when it came to money collecting time. He got to know a few of the customers, including a drunk housewife, a family with a deaf boy, and retired merchant marine who seemed to know everything and had plenty of time to talk to Vince, even when he had a hard time getting his words out.
Things certainly weren't easy for Vince during this summer, but he grew up in a lot of ways. This is a wonderful story of growing up, learning about one's own strengths, facing one's fears, and making new friends. I highly recommend it to any readers who enjoy a good realistic story, and even some who don't! (240 pages)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.