Get Lost

Marty Phillips is suffering from a rough transition to middle school. Isolated from his peers, he finds comfort in the world of books. Meet Marty and the English teacher who tries to motivate him.

Meet Marty

Sixth-grader Marty Phillips escapes through fiction, but his English teacher has yet to tap into his love of reading to connect with him and encourage the quality work that Marty seems capable of producing.

I’m the only kid I know who gets in trouble for reading too much. Can’t help it. School’s boring, and it’s pretty easy to sneak a book into my desk and just hide it inside my math book or whatever. Teachers hardly ever notice—or care—as long as I’m quiet. Sometimes the other kids tell on me, just to get me in trouble. Usually, though, they just wait �til I’m on the bus and then they grab my book and throw it around until the bus driver yells at them to stop. I’ve got a special seat now, right behind the driver.

I read, like, ten books a week, easy. My mom drops me off at the library every Saturday morning while she does the shopping. Then I get as many books as I can carry. The librarians all know me, but I still need my library card. Keep it inside my Narnia wallet. I used to win prizes from the librarians for reading so much. But when I kept winning over and over again, the other kids’ parents complained, and now I don’t get the prizes any more. But, I don’t care. I just like to read.

You’d think that since I like reading, school would be easy. But I hate school. Even the teachers sometimes make fun of me. Last year, Mrs. Watson used to see me lost in a book and call, “Yoo-hoo, Marty,” in this sing-songy voice. And all the kids would laugh. Hardy har har.

But, this year I have Mr. Connelly for English. He’s okay. He lets us listen to Radio Head during journal time. But sometimes English is a big, fat bore.

Yesterday, Mr. Connelly was walking around during writing time, and I had to shove Harry Potter under my sweatshirt. Twice. When he went back to the front of the room, it was back to the book for me. When I finally heard my name, I jumped and practically dropped all my stuff.

“Marty won’t have any trouble doing that, now will you Marty?” Mr. Connelly was laughing. He’d written our homework on the board: Find and bring in your favorite book. Be sure it is one with plenty of dialog. We will select titles to use in next week’s reader’s theater.

“Nope. No trouble at all, Mr. Connelly.”

The kid next to me mumbled, “Yea, it’s in his lap already.”