Monday, October 6, 2014

Chess Rumble by G. Neri

Chess Rumble is the story of a young teen named Marcus who, after the death of his sister and the absence of his father, finds himself unable to cope with his anger.  This leads to Marcus often lashing out at those around him at the slightest provocation.  His uncontrollable fits of anger develop into displays of aggressive behavior, fights at school, picking on his two younger brothers and, at one point, he almost strikes his mother.  Looking for a way to help Marcus deal with his anger, the school principal introduces Marcus to a chess program.  There, he meets ex-convict CM, who teaches Marcus that it’s more beneficial to keep your emotions under control and remain calm even in the worst situations. The text, which is written in one or two columns per page, is accompanied by black and white illustrations which help bring the characters to life.  Thanks to the illustrator, Jesse Joshua Watson, emotions can easily be read on the characters’ faces.  

Chess Rumble can be a good way to get students thinking about anger issues and may be useful as an introduction to the game of chess. Readers of Autobiography of my Dead Brother and Yummy should give Chess Rumble a chance; all three titles deal with living in the hood, dealing with gang life and death, and all contain black and white illustrations. --Claudio Leon

Neri, Greg, and Jesse Joshua Watson. Chess Rumble. New York, NY: Lee & Low, 2007. Print.

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