The Best Man by Richard Peck

Published by Dial Books for Young Readers 

Summary:  Beginning and ending with a wedding, Archie Magill tells the story of his life from a disastrous turn as a six-year-old ring bearer to the present.  His home and school are peopled with memorable characters, including his car-loving father, his cool Uncle Paul, his outspoken best friend Lynette, and his celebrity student teacher Mr. McLeod.  Mr. McLeod arrives in military uniform, triggering a lockdown, and when everything gets straightened out, he’s become a viral online sensation.  He wins Archie’s respect when he helps the victim of some sixth-grade bullies, washing off the word “gay” they’ve written on the boy’s forehead, then revealing himself as gay to the bullies and their classmates.  A romance develops between Uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod, and Archie is determined to help his commitment-shy uncle see their relationship through.  The story closes with a wedding, with Archie serving as best man for his old uncle Paul and his new uncle, Mr. McLeod.  240 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Funny and touching, with plenty of memorable characters, this book is getting some Newbery buzz.  An excellent addition to LGBTQ literature for kids that shows a mature, real relationship between two men.

Cons:  If you’re putting this in a public library, be aware there’s a gay romance that is central to the story.

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