Surviving Brick Johnson

Last updated Friday, June 27, 2008

Author: Laurie Myers
Date of Publication: 2000
ISBN: 0395980313
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2008

Synopsis: (From Alex is running for his life. After making fun of the notorious bully Brick Johnson, he's now convinced that Brick is out to get him. There is only one way to survive Brick Johnson—take karate lessons and become a powerful sensei. But after Brick shows up in karate class and treats Alex with respect, Alex's picture of him begins to change. How can Brick be a bully and a nice guy at the same time? Accompanied by Dan Yaccarino's humorous illustrations, this funny, fast-paced story challenges readers to explore the way we think about people—and to break down the stereotypes that may prevent us from finding true friendship.

Note to readers:
•  Note: The book is long but you can finish reading it if you avoid before q’s and go straight into the book. You can also skip craft time to finish the book if the students wish. If not, then read Chapters 1-3; 6; 8; 10-11; 13-14

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you know any bullies?
•  Was Brick really a bully? Did Brick ever threaten Alex?
•  Was Alex’s fear of Brick only in his head? How did his friends help or hurt?
•  Did Brick and Alex actually have things in common?
•  How did Alex learn respect?
•  How did Alex learn the meaning of new words?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a baseball card of yourself

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!