Young Adult Lit/Crit

March 15, 2008

The Teacher’s Funeral

Filed under: Look What I'm Reading for Book Club! — katefrazer @ 1:00 pm

After our discussions about how so much YA lit is about heavy topics and such, I decided it was time to switch gears and read something fun for book club.  After recommendations from students and a librarian, I read The Teacher’s Funeral, by Richard Peck.  This book is hilarious.  It takes place in a small town in the early 1900s.  Russell, a fifteen year-old boy, who attends a single room school, is the narrator.  His teacher dies in August, which has everyone excited, unfortunately, his older sister takes over the role. 

I have heard many positive comments about Richard Peck’s work from my kids, and this seems to be another one that would really get them hooked.  It starts off with a pretty entertaining description of the dead teacher, and continues following the crazy things that happen all year.  I am very glad I picked up a copy for my book shelf!



  1. So glad you mentioned Richard Peck. I have a special place in my heart for him because when I was in middle school I read Are You in the House Alone? I can’t remember if my mother and I read this book together or if we just talked about it, but I remember her encouragement when I said I thought maybe I should write him a letter. I wrote and he responded (not a form letter). I’m sure I still have it somewhere.

    Comment by sostrom — March 15, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

  2. I just had to do a double take when I saw that you read something hilarious and it was called THE TEACHER’S FUNERAL. You really baited me! I feel like I HAVE to check it out to see what you were talking about. I’m right with you on wanting to read something uplifting.

    Also, Sarah, I love that you wrote to Peck! That sounds like a great assignment in class: choosing a selection of books from authors that are still alive and offering a written assigment that includes(as a possibility) a letter to an author. What did you ask him?


    Comment by joycehansen — March 15, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

  3. I have this book in my collection–and I don’t think anyone in my YA lit classes has EVER read it. So bravo Kate! I like Peck’s work–glad Sarah mentioned a favorite, ARE YOU IN THE HOUSE ALONE? His INVITATIONS TO THE WORLD: TEACHING AND WRITING FOR THE YOUNG is part memoir/part writers’ manual–worth having in your library. I agree that we read too much doom and gloom with middle and high school students. Now don’t get me wrong–I like bleak–a steady diet of it–but I think adolescents should have lots of opportunities to laugh as readers.

    Raph, what are some suggestions you have for YA with humor! Raph is a bit of an expert on this topic since he did his unit plan on humor. KES

    Comment by sunyprof — March 16, 2008 @ 7:58 am

  4. Of course I have suggestions. Here are a few of the titles that I included as part of my bibliography for my unit on comedy in 541: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (a graphic novel), An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, and Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison. Since then I have kept an up to date list of good funny books for teens, including Young Adult Novel by Daniel Manus Pinkwater, A Long Way to Chicago by Richard Peck,and One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte.Of course, I must mention Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams for those of you who might be apprehensive about sci-fi. It’s quite possibly one of the funniest books ever written. In fact, many of the sci-fi books I’ve been looking at for my seminar are very funny as well, especially Maxwell Strangewell by the Fillbach Bros. and Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini. There is also another book I will include as further reading for my seminar called This Place Has No Atmosphere by Paula Danziger.

    So if anyone is interested in reading funny books and happens upon any that I mentioned above, let me know how it is because I’m always in the mood for a good comedy.


    Comment by traverse02 — March 16, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

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