Just as Saturday mornings in the 50s and 60s reserved TV programming for kids’ cartoons so mom and dad could sleep in, PWR reserves Saturday mornings (in today’s case, Saturday night ) for recommendations of books for kids.

Today’s recommendation is a book I enjoyed so much, I might be my favorite kids’ book of 2023. Perhaps because I taught junior high for almost twenty years, I am a soft touch for books about junior high, especially when they feature a kid that is “different” and doesn’t fit in.

The thing obviously different about Cap (short for Capricorn)is his massive “haystack ” hair. It is the perfect target for spitballs and derisive remarks. Capricorn is straight out of the 60s Hippie Movement because he is raised by his grandmother, Rain, who instills in him the values of the peace and love generation who lived on her commune. Cap’s integration into public school and today’s teen culture is an alien-in-a-strange-world adventure. Cap’s loving, peaceful nature makes him the perfect target for bullies until…well, I don’t want to spoil the story. A story with an empathetic character who does not understand what being cool means is a refreshing change from the smart-mouthed, put-upon teens so often portrayed in kid’s books now.

Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a character ranging from innocent Cap to the popular in crowd kids and even the foster mom and her popular high-school daughter he is forced to live with when Rain breaks a hip and is sent to rehab for several months. Here is the beginning of the book told by Capricorn, himself:

” I was thirteen the first time I saw a police officer up close. He was arresting me for driving without a license. At the time I didn’t know what a license was. I wasn’t too clear on what being arrested meant either… ‘Who’s the owner of this pickup?’/ ‘It belongs to the community,’ I told him…/’What community? Golf club? Condo deal?’/ ‘Garland Farm’… It’s an alternative farm commune,’ I explained.’ /The officer goggled at me. ‘Alternative– you mean like hippies?’ “

Your kid will roll his eyes at Cap along with the kids at his school, then come to understand that Cap’s way is a kinder, saner, more pleasant way to approach life.


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."


  1. This sounds like such a wonderful read, Rae. I always enjoyed Gordon Korman’s books and read many to my classes over the years, but I never read this one. I wonder if today’s kids would like this one?

    Liked by 1 person

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