Cover Image: Mascot


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Member Reviews

This one was an eye opening read. That fits for the current times we are in. And each of the main characters could indeed be in any middle school or high school in America. I wish this one existed when I was a teen.
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I shared this book at NCTE and ALAN. I have also been sharing it regularly at teacher events. Thanks for sending this my way so I could get the word out! The book is SO NEEDED.
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This was a hard but important read. It was really difficult to be in the head of the kids who didn't understand the injustice, like when you're reading Lolita. I worry that kids will read those chapters and use them to justify what they already believe. Great pub timing to be on shelves for Thanksgiving.
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This is a book in verse told in multiple points of view on both sides of the Native American mascot debate. Through a debate assignment given by a middle school teacher students get involved in this highly political topic. Through the many points of view the author is able to show many sides of the debate and thinking. Friendships are made and lost over the topic. A topic that is not widely seen in middle school or high school books.
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This was such a fascinating and important novel to read. I am eager to recommend it to our young patrons, whether they love novels in verse, stories about timely issues, realistic fiction, or stories about racial injustice.
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The tagline of this book is “Discrimination is discrimination, even when people claim it is ‘tradition,'” and this tagline tells you exactly about the theme of the book. Told from four students’ points of view, it looks at a school where there is a lot of school spirit around their sports team, called the Braves, and a new student starts who is indigenous and is horrified at the appropriation of her culture. The book is written in verse which gives such well written insight into each of the students’ point of view as these kids aim to make a difference. I read this book in one sitting–it is such a great read where you want to know what is going to happen, so you cannot put the book down.

This topic is also so very timely! I saw Traci Sorell at AASL, and she shared that about 2,000 K-12 schools still have Native American-themed mascots. I know of a couple in my area, and I hope that someone shares this book with them to get the conversation going as the book does a beautiful job of looking at the effects of the ignorant choices that were made in the past (and that too many continue to ignore, despite the racism).
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A student's argument in class leads their teacher to set up a debate among all of the students.  Should their school, Rye High School, keep a stereotypical Native American mascot complete with ax chopping motions and made up dances, or should they change it to a non-offensive mascot?  Surprisingly, these students are only in eighth grade and their teacher assigns the class a viewpoint that often opposes their own beliefs and asks them to argue the point with research.

The students learn that they have to truly work together, and not just use their privelege, but magnify the voices of People of Color.  Some learn that their views have changed while others learn more nuance.  I think this would be a great way to introduce the topic of debate, and to look at a controversial topic from different viewpoints.  I highly recommend this book for schools and libraries.
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This is such an important book, and I'm so glad it exists in the world. Thanks to the authors, NetGalley and Charlesbridge for an advance reading copy.

There are many great things about this book. The first is the topic. Sports teams with discriminatory mascots have been in the news for years, and it's about time someone wrote a story for kids to read that will help them form a well-rounded opinion. The story is told from the perspective of many middle graders in the same school. Some are horrified, damaged even, by the mascot, and some are proud of it. Reading about their opinions is fascinating. I also loved how some characters grew and changed, and some stayed the same. Just like real life.

In my opinion, the only downfall of the book is the amount of perspectives. Although it is important to read many ideas on this topic, this could have been done through the perspective of about three characters. Fewer characters to keep track of (the target audience is middle grade, don't forget) and we could get to know them more in-depth.

All in all, I respect and admire this book. Well done!
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In a town just outside Washington, D.C., six 8th grade students at a local middle school are assigned to debate whether Rye High and Middle School should keep or retire their school mascot, The Braves. Callie, new to school, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is assigned to argue to keep the mascot, something she is staunchly, morally, and emotionally against. The assignment creates controversy for the students in the class, but when one student is fully swayed from his original point of view, he bands with Callie and several other students to make it a larger community issue. 

I thought Waters and Sorell did a wonderful job of capturing the passion of middle school students, as well as their tendencies toward black and white thinking and the groupthink mentality. They accomplished the difficult task of excellently explaining both sides of an ongoing prominent issue in our country that is entangled with a lot of feelings, while also having a clear point of view (that racist mascots should be disbanded). Written in verse, this novel captures the voices of these six diverse students and their teacher really well, and I think this would make an excellent choice for classroom use to encourage discussion. Highly recommend.
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A very accessible book about a group of 8th grade honor English students in a suburb of Washington D.C. who are assigned a debate about whether or not the high school should change its current mascot (the Braves). The book is told in multiple perspectives including a girl of Cherokee heritage who recently moved from Oklahoma. The authors do a good job of balancing views in the book. This would be a great addition to a 7th or 8th grade English class or a class that focuses on social justice.
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Beautifully written by Traci Sorell (of the Cherokee Nation) and Charles Waters, "Mascot" tells the story of a group of 8th-grade Honors English students in a middle school in Rye, Virginia (just outside Washington, DC). This hardworking suburb filled with a mix of families has a long-standing football tradition, all centred around their team and the mascot. 

"You see that made up image painted
on the cafeteria and other school walls,
that stupid tomahawk-chop chank,
and that cheap chicken-feather headdress,
and you think that means me,
means Native Nations.

None of that represents anything Indigenous.
Just white supremacy."

When their teacher assigns the contentious debate topic of asking students if the mascot should stay or go - chaos ensues.

Kids reflect on their own beliefs and ideologies - some with an open mind and some stubbornly unable to see the issue from another point of view. Arguments spill beyond the classroom walls into the community, affecting the whole school, their families, and, eventually, the whole town. 

Written in verse, it is incredibly wonderful to watch the characters struggle as individuals, within their families, with friendships, and with classmates as the issue unfolds. The depth of character development with which readers are gifted is remarkable. The details are rich, subtle and yet thorough. They may lead to the learning/unlearning that readers may find themselves doing as they inevitably identify with one or more of the characters along the way. 

It is a timely topic well-written with likeable, relatable characters, honest and authentic middle-grade angst and emotion, and adults who make the story ring true just enough to be genuine realistic fiction. Every middle school should be adding this to its shelves.
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4.5 stars for me. I like that this was a novel-in-verse that tried to show the feelings of a number of different characters from a number of different vantage points in life. I found a few to be a little stereotypical but I think that was to fit the message of the story and likely necessary without adding a lot of length.
I viewed this in Kindle and it was tough to get the formatting correct for reading it as a verse novel. That might say more about my device than anything, but the chapter titles were all off and I didn't get some of the features of verse formatting that might have been there.
Overall, an important story and message, suitable for MG or YA (or adult) discussion, this novel brings the issue of mascot or names that are offensive to others, particularly Indigenous peoples to light. I especially enjoyed that they used a team nickname that is still being used (Braves). I can only imagine what kind of discussion this would trigger in Atlanta (home to the Braves MLB team, which has a very high profile right now).
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School mascots are a hot button issue in a school district in Washington DC, where the NFL team has recently been renamed the commanders. 

A middle school English teacher challenges the six students in her honors class to present a side of the debate to keep the Rye mascot, the Braves, or to replace it. The six are of different identities, Indigenous, Black, Indian, Hispanic immigrant, white ex-homeschooler, white, working class, impoverished, upper middle class, and are paired up with another who doesn't share their views. 

Thematically based on Langston Hughes' Theme for English B, the book is written in verse, but feels more stream of consciousness rather than poetry. 

In Colorado where I live, where Native mascots are slowly being phased out, though not without a fight, this book will resonate with the teens I know. They'll be inspired by the fight that the BIPOC kids take to remove the mascots, as well as recognize how an Indigenous adult in the book can feel like the mascot is part of his heritage. Additionally, kids will relate to having a white savior try to take the reins, and how some folks don't care about mascots at all while they are trying to survive.  Will definitely recommend for acquisition by both middle school and high school libraries.
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Mascots approaches the topic of cultural representation, appropriations, and allyship in a fresh and thoughtful provoking way. The diverse characters (ethnicity, religion, gender, orientation, and age) give readers so many perspectives to consider while figuring out where they personally land on the issue of team mascots. I appreciated the fact that this novel is written in verse. Not only did it lend itself well to having multiple narrators for the book. But, it creates a quick and accessible read for middle grade or teen readers. The format makes an important issue an approachable read for a wide audience. The characters, like any group of students & adults, all started at different places in the discussion on whether or not the school mascot and traditions were racist depictions of Native Americans. Through their school assignments, family discussions, research, and experiences, almost every character demonstrates some growth or movement on the issue or on how to deal with friends and loved ones who aren’t on the same side as you. The author approaches what could be a highly divisive and hotly contested issue in a calm, respectful way, using relatable experiences and analogies to show the character’s navigating through the opinions to understand what they personally believe to be true. I will definitely be adding this to our school’s collection this year. Thank you to Net Galley for a digital ARC.
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When a school’s sport mascot is brought up for a debate, each student has plenty to say- for and against changing it. So much to learn. Eloquent and powerful.
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This book was great! I loved how the students stood up for what was right. I also really enjoyed how the book was told in alternate perspectives so you could see each different character's ideas.
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An amazing novel in verse that you won't be able to put down. The story is told from multiple points of view: 8th grade students and their English teacher. 

The teacher gives a group project, with assigned partners, for a debate about whether mascots should be native American or racist figures. Each pair if kids was also given which side of the topic they have to argue for. You see, when the kids go into the high school next year, their mascot would be the Braves, so they have some buy-in to the idea of whether they should change the mascot or not. 

Timely and thought-provoking, this was a super fast read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
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I thought this was a story that was timely and is going to spark interesting conversations with students. I like how each character had a specific point of view about the school 's mascot. It showed a realistic portrayal of how young people might handle this situation. I would recommend this book to middles schoolers who want a quick read with an engaging topic.
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This novel in verse set in Washington, D.C., cycles through six students that are dealing with the racist school mascot, a Native American Brave. The characters Callie (Indigenous), Sean (White - Irish), Teassa (White), Luis (Hispanic), Priya (Indian), and Franklin (African American) each have their own voices, beliefs, personalities, and family issues that shine through the book and the simple poetry that helps make this book a really fast read. Callie joins with Priya, Franklin, and Tessa in a campaign to change the racist mascot of the school, offended by the misrepresentations that fill every school event, sports and more. Luis and Sean don't seen a problem with the mascot, Go Braves all the way, which fractures the long held friendship between Luis and Franklin. The story begins with Callie and how uncomfortable and offended she is by the mascot, and how she joins with the others and how Luis and Sean split away from them. A debate of the pros and cons of the current mascot puts the middle schoolers in duo teams with those that don't agree with and might have to debate on the side they don't believe in either. The book brings in protest, presenting to the school board, getting parents and teachers involved, reaching out to the high school kids, too. an excellent look at racism as each student delves into the history of Indigenous tribes and their only racial identities as well. A wonderful, quick read.
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I can hardly believe it's taken a book like this so long to hit the shelves! Mascot is timely, relevant, and includes perspectives of people from all sides of the discussion. Mascot presents ideas in a respectful way that young people will understand and relate to. Readers will almost certainly know some of these characters in real life. I can't wait for this book to be published so I can put a copy in my classroom library!
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