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Paperboy
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Paperboy
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*"Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird." —Booklist, Starred  "An unforgettable boy and his unforgettable story. I loved it!" —ROB BUYEA, author of Because of Mr. Terupt and Mr....
*"Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird." —Booklist, Starred  "An unforgettable boy and his unforgettable story. I loved it!" —ROB BUYEA, author of Because of Mr. Terupt and Mr....
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Description-

  • *"Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird." —Booklist, Starred
     

    "An unforgettable boy and his unforgettable story. I loved it!" —ROB BUYEA, author of Because of Mr. Terupt and Mr. Terupt Falls Again
     
    This Newbery Honor winner is perfect for fans of To Kill a Mockingbird, The King’s Speech, and The Help. A boy who stutters comes of age in the segregated South, during the summer that changes his life.
     
    Little Man throws the meanest fastball in town. But talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering—not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend’s paper route for the month of July, he’s not exactly looking forward to interacting with the customers. But it’s the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, who stirs up real trouble in Little Man’s life.
     
    A Newbery Honor Award Winner
    An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book
    An IRA Children’s and Young Adults’ Choice
    An IRA Teachers’ Choice
    A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year
    A National Parenting Publications Award Honor Book
    A BookPage Best Children’s Book
    An ABC New Voices Pick
    A Junior Library Guild Selection

    An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Recording
    An ALA-YALSA Amazing Audiobook
    A Mississippi Magnolia State Award List Selection

     
    “[Vawter’s] characterization of Little Man feels deeply authentic, with . . . his fierce desire to be ‘somebody instead of just a kid who couldn’t talk right.’” —The Washington Post
     
    Paperboy offers a penetrating look at both the mystery and the daily frustrations of stuttering. People of all ages will appreciate this positive and universal story.” —Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation of America
     
    *“[A] tense, memorable story.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
     
    “An engaging and heartfelt presentation that never whitewashes the difficult time and situation as Little Man comes of age.” —Kirkus Reviews
     
    “Vawter portrays a protagonist so true to a disability that one cannot help but empathize with the difficult world of a stutterer.” —School Library Journal

 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book I’m typing about the stabbing for a good reason. I can’t talk.

    Without stuttering.

    Plus I promised Mam I would never tell what happened to my yellow-handle knife. Mam might say that typing is cheating but I need to see the words on paper to make sure everything happened the way my brain remembers it. I trust words on paper a lot more than words in the air.

    The funny way I talk is not so much like fat pigs in cartoons as I just get stuck on a sound and try to push the word out. Sometimes it comes out after a little pushing but other times I turn red in the face and lose my breath and get dizzy circles going around in my head. There’s not much I can do about it except think of another word or keep on pushing.

    The lady my parents hired to show me how to talk is teaching me to use a trick she calls Gentle Air which means letting out a little of my breath before getting stuck on a word. So when I feel like I’m going to have trouble saying a word I try to sneak up on it by making a hissing noise.

    s-s-s-s.

    When you’re eleven years old it’s better to be called a snake than a retard.

    Some days if I’ve gotten stuck on a bunch of words at school I’ll come home and put a piece of notebook paper in the typewriter that someone from my father’s office brought to our house a long time ago and forgot to take back. The same one I’m typing these words on now. I peck out the words that gave me the most trouble for the day. My hands know where the letters are and I don’t have to think up different tricks to help me push out a word.

    I like the sound the typewriter key makes when it smacks the black ribbon because it’s always the same. I never know what kinds of sounds are going to come out of my mouth. If anything happens to come out at all.

    Just so you know. I hate commas. I leave them out of my typing any time I think I can get away with it. My composition teacher said a comma meant it was time for a pause. I pause all the time when I’m trying to talk whether I want to or not. Humongous pauses. I would rather type a gazillion ands than one little comma.

    I type so much in my room that the white letters are wearing off the typewriter keys. But the key with the comma on it looks brand-new and it can stay that way if you ask me.

    L

    Mam came to Memphis from Mississippi when I was five to live with us and help take care of me and one thing’s for sure. I wouldn’t have made it this far without her.

    Mam’s real name is Miss Nellie Avent. My mother told me to call her Miss Nellie but that didn’t work for me because of the n sound coming after the m sound. Mam was as close as I could come to saying her name and she allowed as how that suited her fine.

    She said that we made a good pair because she couldn’t write very well and I had the best handwriting she had ever seen for a little man. That’s what she called me from the first day that she came to live with us. Little Man.

    Mam is my best friend in all the world except when it comes to playing ball and then Rat takes over. His real name is Art.

    He had it written in easy-to-read letters on his catcher’s mitt on the first day of third grade but I had to nickname him Rat because the a sound wasn’t going to come out of my mouth that day without giving me a bunch of trouble. He allowed as how Rat was okay with him and that made me like him from the start. He didn’t even look like a rat but he understood quicker than most kids that Rat was the best I could do on his name because of the easy r sound. Mam calls...

About the Author-

  • VINCE VAWTER, a native of Memphis, retired after a 40-year career in newspapers, most recently as the president and pubisher of the Evansville Courier & Press in Indiana. Paperboy is his first novel.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books sandyc - The story focuses on "Little Man", which is the paperboy. He throws the meanest fast ball in Memphis during 1959. Unfortunately, he had problems speaking. Words come out of his mouth with sounds like s-s-s-s, or tu-tu-tu. He was bullied by his classmates, and type down his stories using an old type writer of his dad, and shared his own feelings with the audience. He took over his friend's job, and hoped that he can get better at speaking because he was required to speak to adults during the newspapers are handed out. One part that I was really heart broken is that the pain of not being able to do what others do, for example, when your friends all get to play at an amusement park, while your mom forbidden you to. That's what Little Man feels. Just it's much deeper, much painful that just not going to the amusement park. Little Man had try all techniques pushing him to speak, and this is painful for a reader to read. I don't really appreciate how people beside him treated him, sometimes they are just too cruel, and will harm Little Man from deep down inside. If I was Little Man's friend or neighbor, I will be willing to help him learn to talk, or even help him with communicating with others.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 18, 2013
    The name of debut novelist Vawter’s 11-year-old protagonist, Vincent Vollmer III, doesn’t appear until the very end of this tense, memorable story—Vincent’s stutter prevents him from pronouncing it. Vincent is an excellent listener and a keen observer, and the summer of 1959 presents him with the challenge of taking over a friend’s paper route in segregated Memphis. He engages with several neighborhood customers and characters while on the job, gaining new awareness of varied adult worlds, racial tension, and inequality, as well as getting into some dangerous situations. Vawter draws from his own childhood experience at a time “when modern speech therapy techniques were in their infancy,” he writes in an endnote, calling the story “more memoir than fiction.” The story unfolds as Vincent’s typewritten account of the summer, and inventive syntax is used throughout. Commas and quotation marks are verboten—Vincent isn’t a fan of the former, since he has enough extra pauses in his life already—and extra spaces appear between paragraphs, all subtly highlighting his uneasy relationship with the spoken word. Ages 10–up. Agent: Anna Olswanger, Liza Dawson Associates.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2013
    Little Man, whose real name isn't revealed until the conclusion, stutters badly, a situation that presents new difficulties now that he's taken over his friend's paper route for a month. Debut author Vawter depicts a harshly segregated 1959 Memphis, and since the tale is highly autobiographical, he captures a full and realistic flavor of the time. Little Man, as he's called by his brave, black live-in housekeeper, Mam, has a few less-than-effective strategies that he employs to control his stutter, but it dominates his life nonetheless. Along the paper route, he encounters three fully rounded characters who make their mark on the story: Mrs. Worthington, a young, attractive and abused wife who drinks too much and awakens in Little Man a new, albeit very safe, interest in the opposite sex; Mr. Spiro, a widely read retired seaman who offers Little Man heartfelt advice and insightful support; and scary junkman Ara T, who steals Little Man's knife and evolves into a looming threat both to the boy and Mam. Carefully crafted language, authenticity of setting and quirky characters that ring fully true all combine to make this a worthwhile read. Although Little Man's stutter holds up dialogue, that annoyance also powerfully reflects its stultifying impact on his life. An engaging and heartfelt presentation that never whitewashes the difficult time and situation as Little Man comes of age. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2013

    Gr 6-9-After an overthrown baseball busts his best friend's lip, 11-year-old Victor Vollmer takes over the boy's paper route. This is a particularly daunting task for the able-armed Victor, as he has a prominent stutter that embarrasses him and causes him to generally withdraw from the world. Through the paper route he meets a number of people, gains a much-needed sense of self and community, and has a life-threatening showdown with a local cart man. The story follows the boy's 1959 Memphis summer with a slow but satisfying pace that builds to a storm of violence. The first-person narrative is told in small, powerful block paragraphs without commas, which the stuttering narrator loathes. Vawter portrays a protagonist so true to a disability that one cannot help but empathize with the difficult world of a stutterer. Yet, Victor's story has much broader appeal as the boy begins to mature and redefine his relationship with his parents, think about his aspirations for the future, and explore his budding spirituality. The deliberate pacing and unique narration make Paperboy a memorable coming-of-age novel.-Devin Burritt, Wells Public Library, ME

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from April 15, 2013
    Grades 6-8 *Starred Review* It's hot in Memphis during the summer of 1959in all kinds of ways. Things heat up for the book's 11-year-old narrator when he takes over his pal Rat's paper route; meeting new people is a horror for the boy because he stutters. He only really feels comfortable with Rat and Mam, the African American maid who takes care of him when his parents are away, which is often. But being the paperboy forces him to engage in the world and to ask for payments from customers, like pretty, hard-drinking Mrs. Worthington and Mr. Spiro, who gives the boy the confidence to voice his questions and then offers answers thatwondrouslyelicit more questions. Others intrude on his life as well. In a shocking scene, Ara T, the dangerous, disturbing junk man tries to take something precious from the boy. In some ways, the story is a set piece, albeit a very good one: the well-crafted characters, hot Southern summer, and coming-of-age events are reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird. But this has added dimension in the way it brilliantly gets readers inside the head of a boy who stutters. First-time author Vawter has lived this story, so he is able to write movingly about what it's like to have words exploding in your head with no reasonable exit. This paperboy is a fighter, and his hope fortifies and satisfies in equal measure.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

  • The Washington Post "[A] compelling first-person narrative."

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