Welcome to McLaughlin's Class!
I am very happy to have you in my class this year! This year I am teaching English 11, CSU ERWC 12, and English 10. Please use the links to the left for more information about each course.
I am in Room B207 (second floor, main building)
I will arange time to help you if you need it. Just let me know!
Donate to my classroom - tax deductable and many employers will match your donation!
A Streetcat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life by James Bowen
James is a street musician struggling to make ends meet.
Bob is a stray cat looking for somewhere warm to sleep.
When James and Bob meet, they forge a never-to-be-forgotten friendship that has been charming readers from Thailand to Turkey.
A Street Cat Named Bob is an international sensation, landing on the bestseller list in England for 52 consecutive weeks and selling in 26 countries around the world. Now, James and Bob are ready to share their true story with the U.S. in this tale unlike any you've ever read of a cat who possesses some kind of magic.
When street musician James Bowen found an injured cat curled up in the hallway of his apartment building, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London, barely making enough money to feed himself, and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet James couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent but very sick animal, whom he named Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining that he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.
Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
In the summer of 1971, Jack Gantos was an aspiring writer looking for adventure, cash for college tuition, and a way out of a dead-end job. For ten thousand dollars, he recklessly agreed to help sail a sixty-foot yacht loaded with a ton of hashish from the Virgin Islands to New York City, where he and his partners sold the drug until federal agents caught up with them. For his part in the conspiracy, Gantos was sentenced to serve up to six years in prison.
In Hole in My Life, this prizewinning author of over thirty books for young people confronts the period of struggle and confinement that marked the end of his own youth. On the surface, the narrative tumbles from one crazed moment to the next as Gantos pieces together the story of his restless final year of high school, his short-lived career as a criminal, and his time in prison. But running just beneath the action is the story of how Gantos – once he was locked up in a small, yellow-walled cell – moved from wanting to be a writer to writing, and how dedicating himself more fully to the thing he most wanted to do helped him endure and ultimately overcome the worst experience of his life.
Step from Heaven by An Na
This is the story of Young Ju, a Korean-born girl who moves to America with her parents when she is five years old. The flight to California is Young Ju’s first and while going up and up and up into the sky, she concludes that they are on their way to Heaven — Heaven is in America! In America, her father does not get a high-paying job and they are not able to buy a big house as they dreamed. Initially they live with Apa’s sister and her American husband. Young Ju’s mother is pregnant. When Uhmma objects to Apa’s plan to move them into a rented duplex, Apa becomes violently angry. He blames Uhmma for everything — and in a gut-wrenching scene Young Ju’s father slaps her mother — “I do not see Apa’s hand. It is too fast. I only hear the slap, loud as breaking glass. …[b]lood drips down her chin. Her lips are broken grapes.” Young Ju goes to kindergarten and begins the acculturation process. Her brother, Joon, is born the following summer and she is rudely awakened to the fact that her father does not value her as highly as he values his son. He wants to turn Joon into a man, but his methods are outmoded and inappropriate — sometimes abusive. He loses the ability to control his own behavior, his drinking increases, and he hurts his family both emotionally and physically. Young Ju’s hardworking and self-sacrificing mother holds the family together as best she can. A Step From Heaven portrays Young Ju’s growth in a foreign culture. Her family life is insular, dominated by the mores and traditions of her native land. Ill-equipped as they are to function in the world they’ve chosen, they each respond in a way true to their character. An Na’s language authentically reflects the process of acculturation as her protagonist, Young Ju, grows to maturity.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don't forget to bring a towel!
The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara
As a child in a small rural village in Sierra Leone, Mariatu Kamara lived peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Rumors of rebel attacks were no more than a distant worry. But when 12-year-old Mariatu set out for a neighboring village, she never arrived. Heavily armed rebel soldiers, many no older than children themselves, attacked and tortured Mariatu. During this brutal act of senseless violence they cut off both her hands. Stumbling through the countryside, Mariatu miraculously survived. The sweet taste of a mango, her first food after the attack, reaffirmed her desire to live, but the challenge of clutching the fruit in her bloodied arms reinforced the grim new reality that stood before her. With no parents or living adult to support her and living in a refugee camp, she turned to begging in the streets of Freetown. As told to her by Mariatu, journalist Susan McClelland has written the heartbreaking true story of the brutal attack, its aftermath and Mariatu’s eventual arrival in Toronto where she began to pull together the pieces of her broken life with courage, astonishing resilience and hope.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.
Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher’s mind. And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon’s choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally.