Paperboy is a historical fiction novel set in Memphis, Tennessee in 1959. It is about an eleven-year-old boy who takes over his friend's paper route when his friend goes out of town. The only problem is that Victor stutters, making everyday conversation difficult. He has to pick his words carefully, because certain letters, or combinations of letters, are much more difficult for him than others. Wanting more than anything to be normal like other children his age, he does not talk too much, and only chooses words he can pronounce. However, there are two people he can talk to freely - his family's maid "Mam" who he is very close to, and Mr. Spiro, a man he meets on his paper route who is not fazed by his stuttering problem. When a local junkman Ara T. starts making trouble for Victor, he has to overcome his fears to fight back.
Paperboy is a beautifully written short novel loosely based on author Vince Vawter's own speech impediment. It focuses on something most of us take granted - the ability to express ourselves with words - and makes us think about how we view others who talk differently. But despite its important message, this book is a quick read with a bit of a mystery and some action. It will capture the readers' hearts and make a lasting impression.
For grades 4 and up.