The moment Miss Loupe got down on her hands and knees to put tape on the floor, the kids in Room 208 knew that sixth grade was not going to be what they'd thought it would be.

Bo hopes that sixth grade will be better than fifth grade was, and he won't get into trouble so much. He worries that his father will go from being the base commander to a wing commander in Afghanistan.

Gari hopes she can stay in Seattle when her mother's deployed to Iraq, and live with her best friend.  She worries about what would happen if her mother was killed or wounded—her dad's not in the picture, and it's always been just the two of them.

Miss Loupe, the sixth grade teacher in Room 208, plans to teach her class all of the subjects in the sixth grade curriculum. She worries about her older brother, Marc, who's in Army Special Forces team deployed somewhere in Afghanistan. 

They all go to the base school in the little town of Reform, North Carolina. The war in the Middle East is all too real to them-they know that when their mothers or fathers are sent there, they may not return. But inside Room 208, Miss Loupe uses a battered and ugly green couch to teach her class about improvising, about finding beauty or creating it, about saying "yes, and..." and going on, even when it seems impossible.

And when the unthinkable happens, the class realizes that in order to understand it, they have to fight back, and put into action everything Miss Loupe has taught them.


This booktalk was written by Joni Richards Bodart, internationally known booktalker, university professor, author, and school/library consultant.