Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Summary: When sixth-grader Sam Warren gets assigned a practice standardized test to take over Columbus Day weekend, he’s had enough. Standing on his desk a la Dead Poets’ Society, he declares he is done with homework. After losing the coveted piano solo in the school concert and being suspended from school, he seeks legal counsel from his elderly retired lawyer neighbor. Before long, Sam’s friends and sister are involved, too; when they lose in the lower courts, they find themselves appealing to the Supreme Court, cheered on by millions of schoolchildren across America. Will the highest court in the land rule in favor of saving their childhood? Includes a glossary of legal terms and a list of the twenty cases referenced in the book. 272 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: Kids will root for Sam as he takes a stand against homework, not even realizing they’re getting a civics lesson on how the American judicial system works. The fictional Supreme Court justices are thinly-disguised copies of the real ones, which adds to the humor for those in the know.
Cons: The contrast between Sam’s case and others mentioned in the book like Brown v. Board of Education makes his problems seem pretty first-world.