Because of Mr. Terupt (Mr. Terupt #1)

by Rob Buyea (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Series: Mr. Terupt
It's the start of a new year at Snow Hill School, and seven students find themselves thrown together in Mr. Terupt's fifth grade class. There's . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who's having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.

They don't have much in common, and they've never gotten along. Not until a certain new teacher arrives and helps them to find strength inside themselves--and in each other. But when Mr. Terupt suffers a terrible accident, will his students be able to remember the lessons he taught them? Or will their lives go back to the way they were before--before fifth grade and before Mr. Terupt? 

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Compelling. . . . Readers will find much to ponder on the power of forgiveness.

Publishers Weekly

In this skillfully constructed first novel, Buyea conveys the impact that an inspiring new teacher has on his fifth-grade class through the alternating voices of seven complex students, including class clown Peter, thoughtful new student Jessica, relentlessly teased Danielle, and mean-girl Alexia ("Mom told me... Alexia, don't let people push you around like your father did to us. You take charge and fight back.' So there's no way I'm going back to being nice"). For the most part, Mr. Terupt's unconventional teaching style proves capable of reaching even his most difficult students as the year progresses; his gentle guidance leads to some potent lessons about tolerance, self-advocacy, and responsibility. However, some in the community disapprove of his lax disciplinary measures and hands-on educational methods. When an accident during a snowball fight lands Mr. Terupt in the hospital, readers—like students in the class—are left to decide who, if anyone, is to blame. Introducing characters and conflicts that will be familiar to any middle-school student, this powerful and emotional story is likely to spur discussion. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)

Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 4–6—even fifth graders at Snow Hill School in Vermont learn a variety of life lessons, not necessarily from their textbooks, when they start the school year off with their new teacher. Short chapters are actually brief narratives by individual students and sectioned off by each month of the school year, beginning with September. From the students' distinct voices readers come to understand the different personalities and backgrounds that define them. Peter, the prankster; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; and Jessica, the new girl in town who hides behind her favorite books, are just a few of the characters who shape readers' vision of the classroom. As their narrative continues, readers realize that each child has a story that only begins in school; it's the problems and conflicts that make up their home lives that come full circle because of a prank that results in tragedy. Mr. Terupt is that one teacher who really understands them, who always seems to be on their side, and who teaches them a valuable lesson no matter how much some of them try to shut him out. If the school year is a series of events, then Mr. Terupt is the catalyst that starts the chain reaction. The characters are authentic and the short chapters, some less than a page, are skillfully arranged to keep readers moving headlong toward the satisfying conclusion.— Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH

Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission


No one is perfect in this feel-good story, but everyone benefits, including sentimentally inclined readers.

Review quotes

Rob Buyea

Rob Buyea taught third- and fourth-graders in Bethany, Connecticut, for six years before moving to Massachusetts, where he taught high school biology and coached wrestling for seven years at Northfield Mount Hermon. Mr. Terupt Falls Again and Saving Mr. Terupt are companion novels to Because of Mr. Terupt. Currently, Rob is a full-time writer and lives in North Andover, Massachusetts, with his wife and three daughters.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Delacorte Press
Publication date
October 11, 2011
Mr. Terupt
BISAC categories
JUV035000 - Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
JUV039000 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | General
Library of Congress categories
Family life
Interpersonal relations
Teacher-student relationships
Finalist 2010 - 2010
E.B. White Read Aloud Award
Honor Book 2011 - 2011
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Nominee 2012 - 2012
Rhode Island Children's Book Awards
Nominee 2013 - 2013
Nutmeg Book Award
Winner 2013 - 2013
Virginia Readers Choice Award
Nominee 2013 - 2013
Beehive Awards
Nominee 2012 - 2012
Young Hoosier Book Award
Winner 2013 - 2013
South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award
Nominee 2012 - 2013
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award
Nominee 2013 - 2013
Golden Sower Award
Winner 2013 - 2013
Massachusetts Children's Book Award
Winner 2012 - 2013
Georgia Children's Book Award
Nominee 2014 - 2014
Grand Canyon Reader Award
Winner 2013 - 2013
Mark Twain Readers Award
Second Place 2012 - 2013

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