by Walter Dean Myers
Zander and his friends, Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi start their own newspaper, The Cruiser, as a means for speaking out, keeping the peace, and expressing what they believe. When the school launches a mock Civil War, Zander and his friends are forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it costs to stand up for a cause. The result is nothing they could have expected, and everything they could have hoped for.
Zander Scott and his friends, Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi are in trouble. Even though they're students at DaVinci, one of the best Gifted and Talented schools in Harlem, their grades are slipping, and Mr. Culpepper, the Assistant Principal and Chief Executioner, is ready to be rid of them.
When the school starts a unit on the Civil War, and kids split up into Union and Confederate sympathizers, Zander and his crew are given a charge - to negotiate a peace between both sides before the war actually breaks out.
That's when Zander comes up with the idea to launch an alternative school newspaper called The Cruiser. What he and his friends learn is that their writing has power to keep the peace, but that words can be weapons, too. Soon everyone at DaVinci is forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it costs to stand up for a cause. The result is nothing they could have expected, and everything they could have hoped for. (description from Amazon.com)
I was surprised how much I really enjoyed this book. I would never have picked it up on my own, but I'm glad it was sent to me. The Cruisers is short and relatable, but also thoughtprovoking and profound.
It manages to teach civil war history, discuss whether slavery was at all morally right, and how we all still relate to each other now. The action was interspersed with snippets of newspaper articles from the different ones published at their school which gave a really personal perspective to the different viewpoints.
Full disclosure: Received audiobook to review for SLJ.