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Ethan, Suspended [Hardcover]

By Pamela Ehrenberg (Author)
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Item description for Ethan, Suspended by Pamela Ehrenberg...

After getting in trouble at his previous school in Pennsylvania, thirteen-year-old Ethan Oppenheimer is sent to live with his grandparents in urban Washington, D.C. where he becomes the only white, jewish student in a school of African-Americans and Hispanics.

Publishers Description
After getting in trouble at his previous school in suburban Blue Hills, Pennsylvania, thirteen-year-old Ethan Oppenheimer is sent to live with grandparents he hardly knows in urban Washington, D.C. Although he had lots of friends at his old school, Ethan finds it hard to fit in at Parker Junior High. The only white, Jewish student in a school of African Americans and Hispanics, he endures teasing and harassment and has no one to sit with in the lunchroom, even if his crazy grandparents didnt pack him weird old-people food in wrinkled plastic bags for his lunches.

But as the semester moves on, Ethan gets involved in jazz band and makes some new friends, learning a lot about prejudice and acceptance -- and about himself and where he really fits in the world.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Ethan, Suspended by Pamela Ehrenberg has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Booklist - 05/15/2007 page 46
  • School Library Journal - 07/01/2007 page 100
  • Voice of Youth Advocates - 08/01/2007 page 238
  • Hornbook Guide to Children - 07/01/2007 page 367
  • Multicultural Review - 12/01/2007 page 89
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2007 page 746
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/2008 page 136
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/2009 page 829
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2011 page 925

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Pages   266
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 2, 2007
Grade Level  Multiple Grades  
Age  12-13
ISBN  0802853242  
ISBN13  9780802853240  

Availability  0 units.

More About Pamela Ehrenberg

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Pamela Ehrenberg has been an educator for ten years, and she currently serves as a consultant for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education in Washington, D.C.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Social Issues > Prejudice & Racism > Fiction
2Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Social Situations > Emotions & Feelings > Fiction
3Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Social Situations > Values > Fiction
4Books > Subjects > Teens > Literature & Fiction > General
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Teen

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Reviews - What do customers think about Ethan, Suspended?

Good Book.  Oct 31, 2009
The book was pretty interesting all the way through the book. There were little bits of humor in every chapter of the book. The Author found humor in everyday events. If I give you details I might ruin the book for you.

The chapters are a good length and never got boring. I normally start reading books and lose interest after the second or third chapter. This book kept my attention and kept me wondering what would happen next. Most of the chapters in the book were pretty believable. Ethan is thrown into difficult situations. It is interesting to see the choices that he makes. Some are good choices and some not so good.

Solid YA Debut  Dec 28, 2007
This debut YA novel takes the classic fish-out-water setup and applies it to a good Jewish kid from suburban Philadelphia. After getting into some minor trouble with friends, Ethan Oppenheimer is suspended from school. His timing is bad though -- his parents are in the midst of a separation, his mother can't cope with anything, and so she dumps him with his grandparents in Washington, D.C. The real kicker is that it's not just for the holiday break... Unbeknownst to him, Ethan is supposed to finish the school year at a public high school in D.C. where he'd be the only white kid!

This setup (more or less the opposite of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air") allows the story to explore plenty of social and political issues from the perspective of a middle-class white kid (ie. pretty much the target audience for most YA fiction). Ethan is confronted for the first time with issues of race (both the experience of being a minority, and the tensions between his black and Latino classmates), class (the relative poverty of his classmates, and the spendthriftiness of his grandparents), friendship (none of his friends from back home try to reach him, and figuring out how to make friends in DC is tough) and family (his sense of isolation from his sister who's in college, his dad who never calls, and his mother who calls seemingly against her will). These issues arise organically out of the story and never feel contrived, which is quite an accomplishment.

The book has a few minor flaws, for example one reason for Ethan's feeling of isolation is lack of internet access, however that could have been easily resolved by a trip to any public library, something Ethan would definitely had known. A subplot involving Washington's history during the civil rights era and Ethan's family doesn't lead to much of anything. And I felt that Ethan's experience as being the only white kid in a D.C. public school was probably much easier than it would be in reality. But these are relatively minor quibbles about a book that would be excellent for a teen or middle-school book/discussion group.

In general, the book feels wholly authentic, probably because the author taught in a junior high school in Washington, D.C. and has parents not unlike Ethan's grandparents! It's also to be commended for avoiding the kind of neat, tidy ending common to YA novels. Readers will face a little ambiguity at the end and not everything is spelled out, which might be frustrating to some, but feels true to life. Some answers can be found in "Ethan's" MySpace page where he blogs about what happens after the book ends...
Encore! Encore!  Jun 30, 2007
The world needs more books like Ethan Suspended, where today's real kids wrestle with today's real problems. After a series of unfortunate events in his suburban middle school, Ethan is left hanging, high and dry, in his grandparents' neighborhood of Washington, D. C. Like an immigrant from another planet, he has to adapt to survive. Some kids might try to blend in. Ethan knows that's not an option. Instead he becomes a standout as the first ever jazz oboist at Parker Middle School. Ehrenberg unflinchingly lays bare the challenges that middle school kids face every day. Ethan, Sherita, Daron, Felix, Diego - each is a real ordinary kid who might be just like the kid sitting next to you on the bus. Each has a story worth telling. This story will give kids plenty to talk about as they compare the people and problems in the book to people and problems they encounter every day. Readers who like Ethan Suspended might also enjoy Danger, Long Division where another real kid growing up in the shadow of our nation's capital struggles with school problems and absent parents. Also, coming soon, Finch Goes Wild tells the adventures of another middle school musician just across the river from Ethan's neighborhood.

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