Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea is an engaging and thoughtful novel, spot-on for the needs and hearts of the middle elementary school student.  It would make a terrific read aloud -- the nature of the multiple perspectives over time lends itself well to those "found" moments to read in a homeroom.

Buyea captures perfectly what every teacher knows:  every student has a story.  Each of these children, both through their own narrations and those of their peers, becomes a complex person, with feelings, fears, strengths, and weaknesses, that only get revealed over time.  We come to "know" these characters as we come to know people in our own lives -- over time, and only if we give them the chance.

While Buyea draws somewhat on "types," his choice of narration and complexity allows the reader to realize that quick and easy labeling can rob people of their true individuality.

I think that students in grades 4 and 5 would love this novel and that teachers could facilitate some wonderful class discussion on how to create, build, and maintain community from the issues that the novel raises.