Can The Cruisers Stop a War?

Walter Dean Myers' latest book packs a powerful punch

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

The Cruisers
Author: Walter Dean Myers
No. of Pages: 112 (Hardcover)
Publisher/Date Released: Scholastic Press/August 1, 2010
Reading level: Young Adult

The Cruisers are four kids in Harlem who have decided it's enough to just “cruise” through the gifted and talented school they are enrolled in. They are happy with C's and working on an alternative newspaper that they call (what else!) The Cruiser.

When an especially controversial article in their paper brings them to the attention of the school administration, the four are almost expelled. Zander, LaShonda, Kambui, and Bobbi are instead given a difficult assignment: mediate peace in a mock Civil War.

Author Walter Dean Myers takes this big story and tells it in just a few pages with perfect pacing and plotting. I liked how he included the actual article that got the kids in trouble in the first place.

As part of a school project, students are split into the two groups representing the North and South in the Civil War. The Cruisers are given the task of negotiating peace and preventing the outbreak of war. If they fail, they will be expelled.

The group learns that their words can be powerful and can be used as weapons. I think this book would be great in a history class, because it helps you understand what a democracy is all about.

Now let me say that when I started to read this book, I did not think I was going to like it. But as I kept reading, a masterpiece unfolded. I highly recommend The Cruisers to anyone who likes a good, fast read with a powerful message.

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