Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Free Lunch by Rex Ogle

Genre: Middle Grade, Memoir
Source:  Purchased a copy

Free Lunch – Rex Ogle

Genre: Middle Grade, Memoir

Source:  I purchased a copy

Middle school is tough. Most sixth graders feel like a fish out of water on the first day. There are class changes, often it is a new school and then, there is lunch. For Rex Ogle his first year in sixth grade is made tougher by the fact his mom has signed him up for free lunch at his school. He must tell the lunch lady each time he gets lunch that he is on the free program. This is such an embarrassment for him, especially since he has to shout it since the lunch lady can’t hear him. Rex has told his story so honestly it is raw. You feel for him when they are evicted and must live in government housing. It wasn’t bad enough everyone he was once friends with knows he gets free lunch. Their new housing sits close enough to the school that everyone will soon know how poor he is.  As a teacher I found myself very irritated at the teacher who decided Rex would be a trouble maker simply on first impressions. I am not na├»ve enough to think that all teachers are compassionate. I have worked with many teachers that made me wonder why they became a teacher. It wasn’t because they truly loved children. Their behavior told a different story. This story resonates with all kids at all levels. I understood how Rex felt. We went through a financial crisis when I was a teen. I chose not to eat lunch and tell others I just wasn’t hungry. It was less embarrassing. Poverty hits children of all colors and all ages. Thankfully today, students scan their ID card for lunch. No one needs to know if they get free lunch or not. This book has a long waiting list in my class. I recommend it to all teens.


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