Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja
(Bccb Blue Ribbon Fiction Books (Awards))

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How to survive being good

Like a flashback memory, he’s there in my mind: skimming up the stairs at school, his sloppy old T-shirt big as a sail, red tie-dyed dragon T-shirt, who wears stuff like that? No one. Jinsen.

The kids at Edward Rucher High School call Jinsen “Buddha Boy” and condemn him as a freak. With his shaved head and perpetual smile, Jinsen certainly doesn’t help matters when he starts begging for lunch money in the cafeteria. So when Justin is paired with Jinsen for a class project, he plans to get done with it as soon as possible, and climb right back into his safe social niche. Then Justin discovers Jinsen’s incredible artistic talent and becomes curious about his beliefs. But being friends with Buddha Boy isn’t simple, and Justin is forced into a cruel contest with the jocks who just can’t seem to leave Jinsen, or his artwork, alone.

Kathe Koja introduces an unforgettable young man who will remind readers of the true meaning of friendship and demonstrate how to draw strength from the little gods inside each of them.

About Kathe Koja

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Kathe Koja is the author of Straydog, which Booklist called “a searing, beautiful book for young readers.” She lives in the Detroit area.
Published March 4, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 128 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Buddha Boy

Publishers Weekly

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The social landmine that is high school serves as backdrop for this thought-provoking story about the challenges involved in standing up for one's beliefs.

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Publishers Weekly

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Koja convincingly paints Justin as "somewhere in the middle" of the high school social strata, so that when he takes a risk for Jinsen, who is taunted (called "Buddha Boy") and physically threatened by his classmates, readers see how far Justin has progressed in his own self-realization.

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Large Print Reviews

Buddha Boy is also a great conversation starter, providing a starting point for families, school groups, and peers to talk about why High Schoolers place so much importance on status and clicks, and what can be done to make High Schoolers more open to individuals who might be seen as different.

Jul 23 2004 | Read Full Review of Buddha Boy (Bccb Blue Ribbon...

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