Review: Armstrong & Charlie

This middle school book was simply a good read. A white boy and a black boy... learning they really weren't so different after all.   A good book for middle schoolers (and their older siblings or parents too!).  :) 

Book Synopsis:
 Charlie isn't looking forward to sixth grade. If he starts sixth grade, chances are he'll finish it. And when he does, he'll grow older than the brother he recently lost. 

Armstrong isn't looking forward to sixth grade, either. His parents have signed him up for Opportunity Busing to a white school in the Hollywood Hill.

So from September to June, arms will wrestle, fists will fly, and bottles will spin. There'll be Ho Hos spiked with hot sauce, sleepovers, boy talk about girls, and a little guidance from the stars.

Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Armstrong and Charlie is the hilarious, heartwarming tale of two boys from opposite worlds, Different, yet the same.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, it took me a while to cotton to the fact that the story jumped back and forth between Charlie and Armstrong's stories.   But once I did it worked.

Seeing the thoughts of two sixth grade boys as they work through not only sixth grade and all that means, but through integration of blacks and whites in the same school.  Armstrong being one of the children bused into a predominately white school.  Charlie having to deal with his school friends abandoning his integrated school for the security of all white schools.

It's a neat book where two boys had to work through a variety of challenges... involving fights and ho ho's and misunderstandings, and then... a sleepover in which they discovered... they are both boys and aren't as different as they thought they might be.

That doesn't mean the challenges stopped, it just means they changed.  Through it all, lessons are learned and friendships are forged and change happened. 

My suggestion: This is a good, enjoyable read.  Could easily make the type of book to do a report on and be good for conversation starters.  NOTE: there is some astrology in this book for parents who would rather avoid that, but it's not a huge part.

 Armstrong & Charlie
By Steven B. Frank
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Size: 6.1 x 8.56
304 pages
Ages 10-12 years

Received: Softcover book

Reviewed for: Raincoast Books. Armstrong and Charlie Armstrong and Charlie


  1. Sounds interesting. May look at this one but it would not be for the girls. I don't think they would enjoy it. - Lori

    1. Just might be more of a boys book at that. :)


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