Paperboy

Introduction

Paperboy is a 2013 young adult novel by author Vince Vawter. The novel was a Newbery Medal Honor Book in 2014.

Description

The author Vince Vawter was inspired to write the novel Paperboy because it is an autobiographical novel, almost a memoir, about a speech impediment he has had all of his life. As a child he suffered with it and as an adult it has been a challenge that he welcomes and finds that it gives him a certain amount of inner strength.[1]

Plot

The story takes place in 1959. "Little Man" Victor, an eleven-year-old boy who stutters, takes over his best friend Rat's paper route while Rat is visiting his grandparents. Little Man has various encounters with Rat’s customers. The paper route poses challenges and introduces Little Man to life's daily obstacles.

He has a run-in with the neighbourhood junkman, Ara T, a bully and thief who Little Man was warned to stay away from by his housekeeper, Mam. Ara puts the boy's life, as well as Mam's, in danger. Victor begins to wonder what it means to have a soul. He thinks about his talks with Mr. Spiro. He sees Mrs. Worthington walking hand in hand with her husband and hopes she's happy. He befriends a boy on the route who he has learned is deaf, and he is finally able to tell his mother that the food she thinks is his favorite is not. Though he has recently discovered that his dad is not his birth father, he embraces their loving relationship and strives to deepen it. He is even able to speak several full sentences in front of his class, finally verbalizing his own name for the first time. Victor tells Mam he's learned that what he says is more important than how he says it and that his soul doesn't stutter.

Characters
  • Victor Vollmer/ "Little Man"- Stuttering 11-year-old boy who takes on a new responsibility his friends paper route, and is intrigued by all the new things happening in the neighborhood around him.
  • Mam - Protective housekeeper who goes through great lengths to make sure "Little Man" is treated right.
  • Arthur "Rat" - Little Man's friend whose paper route he is covering for.
  • Ara T - A Junk Man who causes trouble for "Little Man" and Mam.
  • Mrs. Worthington - Depressed woman who turns to alcohol quite frequently.
  • Mr. Spiro - Intelligent traveler who has patience and helps little man understand things that he is intrigued about.
Critical Reception

Rob Buyea, author of Because of Mr. Terupt and Mr. Terupt Falls Again states Paperboy is "An unforgettable boy and his unforgettable story. I loved it."[2] The story is "Beautifully written by a first-time author/retired newspaper man who stutters, Vince Vawter knows much about what he writes." - The Reading Countess [3] One parent on Common sense Media states "He learns many life lessons during his temporary job as a paperboy (set in the south, during the 60s), and we cheer for him as he stands up for someone he loves, despite extreme peril. Well written, compelling, and plenty of fresh, fascinating characters." [4]

Awards
  • A Newbery Honor  Award Winner [5]
  • An American Library Association Association for Library Service to ChildrenNotable Children’s Book
  • An International Reading Association Children’s and Young Adults’ Choice
  • An International Reading Association Teachers’ Choice
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year
  • A National Parenting Publications Award Honor Book
  • A BookPage Best Children’s Book
  • An ABC New Voices Pick
  • An American Library Association-Association for Library Service to Children Notable Children’s Recording
  • An American Library Association-YALSA Amazing Audiobook
  • Amazon.com Best Books of the Year 2013: Ages 9–12 [6]
Notes
  1. ^ "11 Questions with PAPERBOY Author Vince Vawter". Random Acts of Reading
  2. ^ "Paperboy: Vince Vawter: 8601401282976: Amazon.com: Books". amazon.com
  3. ^ Vince Vawter. "The Reading Countess (San Antonio, TX)'s review of Paperboy". Goodreads
  4. ^ "Member reviews for Paperboy - Common Sense Media". commonsensemedia.org
  5. ^ "Paperboy". ala.org
  6. ^ "Paperboy". vincevawter.com

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