Cold Case (Middle-grade giveaway) by Julia Platt Leonard
September 19, 2011 in Book Club Possibility, Elementary Educators, Middle Grade Novel, Reading Skills, six traits of writing Tags: Book giveaway, middle grade books for boys, reading response journals
I am absolutely thrilled that Julia Platt Leonard wrote to me this summer and asked me if I would like to review her new middle-grade book, Cold Case. Not only is this a well-written book for middle graders, but it is exciting and entertaining and will keep adults intrigued, too. It’s like those cop shows I love to watch, but instead of Jane Rizzoli (Rizzoli and Isles) or Brenda Lee Johnson (The Closer), our hero is 13-year-old Oz Keiller. So, if you like crime dramas or mystery/thrillers by authors like James Patterson, you will love Cold Case and want to share it with a child in your life.
*****Even better news–I have a copy to giveaway! Please leave a comment below with your email address by Sunday, September 25 at 8:00 pm CST. You can say whatever you want in your comment, but I would love to hear if you like to read or watch crime dramas, and if so, which ones? (U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only please.)*******
**Middle-grade book, contemporary fiction
**13-year-old boy as main character
**Rating: Cold Case is a great, action-filled book with an interesting mystery and two likeable young teen sleuths.
Short, short summary: Thirteen-year-old Oz finds a dead body in his family’s restaurant one morning, and the suspected murderer is his older brother Dave. Why is Dave in the hot seat? Turns out, the dead man is a journalist who wrote an article about Oz’s father fourteen years ago and the headline? “Traitor Without a Cause: Leading U.S. Physicist Caught Stealing Nuclear Secrets.” Oz never knew his father had been suspected of being a spy; his mom and brother had kept it from him. Oz is creeped out when finding the dead body; but more than that, he is mad that the truth had been kept from him for so long. And he’s worried that his family’s restaurant will never recover from someone being murdered there. But even more than all of this, he wants to find out what really happened with his father all those years ago and to clear Dave of the murder. There’s no way his brother could have killed that reporter, right? Oz asks his best friend, Randy (a girl), for help; and together, they have quite an adventure in Cold Case by Julia Platt Leonard.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Ask students to write in their reading response journals how they would have felt when they saw the headline on the article about Oz’s father. If they were Oz, would they have felt the same way? Do they think his mom and brother did the right thing by not telling him the truth? Ask students to write their opinion and support it. Then ask students with varying viewpoints to debate the issue.
2. While you are reading the book with your child or with students, write down any clues that Oz finds or any guesses he has as to whom actually murdered the reporter. Can students figure it out before Leonard reveals whodunit in the book?
3. One of the 6 +1 traits of writing is Organization, and this includes writing an interesting beginning and a satisfying ending. The beginning of a piece of writing is supposed to introduce you to the story and draw you in. (Cold Case has an AWESOME beginning. ) Ask students if the beginning of this novel does its job. Also, ask them if they felt the ending was satisfying and to support their answer. Finally, talk about how the book was organized besides the beginning and ending.
**Don’t forget your comment for a chance to win this hardcover book!