• The Schwa – Book Description

    They say his clothes blend into the background, no matter where he stands. They say a lot of things about the Schwa, but one thing’s for sure: no one ever noticed him. Except me. My name is Antsy Bonano-and I was the one who realized the Schwa was “functionally invisible” and used him to make some big bucks. But I was also the one who caused him more grief than a friend should. So if you all just shut up and listen, I’ll tell you everything there is to know about the Schwa, from how he got his name, to what really happened with his mom. I’ll spill everything. Unless, of course, “the Schwa Effect” wipes him out of my brain before I’m done . . . .

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Awards & Honors

2005 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Fiction
2007/2008 California Young Reader Medal Award – winner
2005 American Library Association – “Best Book”
2005 American Library Association – “Notable Book”
2006 International Reading Association – “Young Adult Choice” Award List
2007 Georgia Peach Award List
2008 Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award List
2007/2008 Indiana Young Hoosier Award List
2007 Oklahoma Sequoyah Award List
2007/2008 Nebraska Golden Sower Award List
2007 Rhode Island Teen Book Award
2005 Missouri Children’s Choice Award List
2007/2008 New Mexico Land of Enchantment Award List
2005/2006 Texas Lonestar Award
2006 Kentucky Bluegrass Book Award List
2006 Utah Beehive Award List
2006 Pennsylvania Young Readers Award List
2006 Tennessee Volunteer State Award List
2005/2006 Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award List
2006 California Readers: California Collection Award
2006 New York Public Library Best Book for Teens.
2010-2011 New Hampshire Isinglass Teen Reads Award List


From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 7-10-Eighth-grader “Antsy” Bonano recounts how his accidental relationship with three quirky characters winds up being mutually beneficial. The catalyst in this social collision is Calvin Schwa, a classmate who has an almost supernatural knack for going completely unnoticed. When Antsy decides to become an “agent” for the “nearly invisible” Schwa by entertaining wagers on what he can get away with by being able to fly almost entirely beneath the social radar, the boys enjoy temporary success until they accept a dare requiring “The Schwa” to enter the home of a legendary local eccentric and retrieve a dog bowl belonging to any one of his 14 Afghans. Crawley, a powerful restaurateur who also happens to be severely agoraphobic, nabs the unlikely young intruders, and the crusty shut-in orders them to return daily to walk his dogs in exchange for their impunity. Once Antsy has gained Crawley’s trust, he is asked to perform another task: to act as a companion for the man’s blind granddaughter, Lexie. Antsy is then flanked by two peers-one who cannot see and one who cannot be seen-and, together, they overcome their collective liabilities through friendship, improving their own lives and the lives of those around them. Antsy tells his story in a bubbly Beastie Boys-meet-Bugs Bunny Brooklynese that keeps the pages flipping, and Shusterman’s characters-reminiscent of those crafted by E. L. Konigsburg and Jerry Spinelli-are infused with the kind of controlled, precocious improbability that magically vivifies the finest children’s classics.

-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
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6 Comments so far:

  1. MaryAnn Campbell says:

    Hi! I’m a 6th grade teacher in PA and I read aloud this book to my students every year! They absolutely love it! I’ve probably read it like fourteen thousand times! Haha! Seriously, when I tell them we are going to “read The Schwa” they cheer! Thanks so much for allowing my students to experience the joy of a good book!

  2. Antsy Pantsy says:


  3. onlintrading says:

    In other words, when a vowel-preceded consonant is followed by a vowel-succeeded consonant, the schwa inherent in the first consonant is deleted.

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