Middle school students have been taking part in a community reading project during December and January, of the novel Hoot by Carl Hiaasen.
Hoot is the story of a middle school student named Roy Eberhardt, who has just moved to Florida. As he settles into his new life he has to deal with a variety of situations, including a school bus bully and attempts to uncover the mystery of bare-foot running boy. He also joins an effort to stop construction of a pancake house, which would destroy a colony of burrowing owls who live on the site.
The author, Carl Hiaasen, is a newspaper columnist as well as prolific author. After spending many years writing novels for adults, he made his children's book debut with Hoot (2002), which was awarded the Newbery Honor and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller lists. Born and raised in Florida he has spent most of his life advocating the protection of the Florida Everglades.
In addition to being fun to read, Hoot has a central message about environmental awareness and good judgment.
“Sometimes you’re going to be faced with situations where the line isn’t clear between what’s right and what’s wrong. Your heart will tell you something different. In the end, all that’s left is to look at both sides and go with your best judgment.”
— Roy Eberhardt’s mother, a character in Hoot
"...every day we've been reading about regular people, ordinary Americans who made history 'cause they got up and fought for something they believed in."
— Roy Eberhardt, the main character in Hoot
To kick off Hoot week, students gathered together for assembly to watch a slideshow featuring photos of peers caught reading Hoot during their holidays. As a further study of the book, students have been sharing ideas and thoughts about the plot and characters with peers in Advisory discussions. In Mrs. Shaw’s English class, Hoot has featured in persuasive writing exercises. As a finale to the week of ‘Hoot,’ a raffle will be held and the funds donated to the Wildlife Aid Foundation. Finally, middle school students and teachers will gather for brunch and to watch the movie adaptation of the Community Read in the Fleming Theatre.
Middle School Librarian, Ms. Harris, chose Hoot because of the strong and positive messages it portrays, “These messages are very important for young people learn and be reminded of at every opportunity. Here at TASIS we are constantly trying to instill in our students not only an awareness of the world around them but also guide them to find ways in which they can aid and give back to others and the world as a whole, which includes protecting the environment and wildlife.”
“ I found the book fun to read, I have read it three times already!”
“We have discussed the morals in the book with our teacher. I am going to try to do the right thing even when it is hard like Roy does many times.”
“I have had lots of fun talking to my friends about the book in advisory and thinking of situations when we had to make a hard decision that was the right thing to do.”