Sunday, November 4, 2018

Last Pick

Every teacher has a different way of dealing with inequality and stereotypes. Jason Walz wrote a graphic novel, Last Pick, which posits a world where the characters need to throw off their labels in order to save humanity.

Three years before, an alien invasion removed everyone "of value"-- that is, everyone who wasn't too young, too old or too disabled to be of use for their nefarious plans. Among those left behind are twins Wyatt and Sam, who have to look out for each other. As they begin to look out for others, as well, it draws the ire of the aliens and makes them a target.

Wyatt has some pretty classic characteristics of autism, although it's never stated outright. Still, I love that his traits are what help keep the siblings alive and may save the world in future books. It's unclear to me what made aliens avoid Sam on their first round of abductions. The plot made opportunities for heroism that middle grade readers don't usually encounter; there are quite a few elderly characters with surprising skills that save the day.

This is a quick read--I finished it on a short subway ride--and sets the reader up to want the sequel right away. I'm happy to add a graphic novel that celebrates diversity to my classroom library.

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