Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan is a great parallel story taking place during the two main characters’ first week of fifth grade. Weeks writes Joe’s chapters. Joe mainly keeps to himself, primarily because of his APD (Auditory Processing Disorder), and because he is often the target of bully Dillon Samreen.
Varadarajan writes Ravi’s chapters. Ravi’s family has just moved to the U.S. from India. Ravi was extremely successful and popular in Bangalore, and he expects the same to be true in the U.S. This isn’t exactly how it goes for him.
Over the course of the week, both boys endure being misunderstood (in their own unique situations), and the difficulty of being able to fit in as they are. By the end of the week, they manage to erase their own false assumptions about each other and work together to overcome Dillon’s bullying. Their respective family’s are pivotal in helping them through these tough first days.
The clear, fluid writing from both authors will engage student readers, and get them rooting for the boys to befriend each other. Also, the authors’ backgrounds and process of writing together (described in the post-story interview) will promote conversation of writer’s craft. It would be a cool exercise for students to try their own dual story with a writing partner. (Can’t take the English teacher out of the librarian!)