A Week in the Woods (Andrew Clements)

Do you remember those kids who had it made? They had whatever they wanted, went wherever they wanted, and did whatever they wanted? Mark is one of those kids. Only, the not-so-obvious thing about Mark is that despite all he has, he would give it all if it meant he would have more time with his parents. Both of them travel incessantly for work, and though he is safe with his caregivers, Mark longs for what he does not have.

Having recently moved (yet again) to a new home, Mark suddenly becomes interested in all things outdoors. He does some research about camping, practices some hikes, and buys all the equipment any camper would ever dream of having. All these come in handy during a school trip to the forest, in which even Mark learns that there is more to him than money.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is the side-story about a teacher, Mr. Maxwell, who has his mind made up about Mark, and yet by the end of the book his opinion is much different. As teachers, we are so guilty of pegging kids into a hole. We talk to their teachers last year, find out all their issues, and by the time they walk into our rooms we already know what we think about these kids. And for all the Marks in the world, that just isn't fair...