Taking Down Ms. Moody by D.C. high school students, Rochelle Jones, Destiny Mayhew, and Naseem Roach, and illustrated by D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts graduate, Zoë Gatti, tells a story of students dealing with a difficult teacher.
In Taking Down Ms. Moody, the kids of Washington move to a new planet while their own planet is under construction. At their new school, the three main characters, Naseem, Lexie, and Danny get their first taste of their new teacher, Ms. Moody, when she angrily throws a fireball in class. After a series of aggressive retaliations of this nature from the easily provoked Ms. Moody, Naseem, Lexie, and Danny decide to take matters into their own hands, wherein they set up a number of video cameras to catch one of Ms. Moody’s explosive acts on tape, which they planned on showing to the principal of the new school. Everything goes according to plan, but eventually the students decide to talk to Ms. Moody themselves before going to her superior.
Taking Down Ms. Moody teaches a valuable lesson about confrontation that is important for kids who have experienced mistreatment in classrooms: conflict resolution comes best through honesty, courage, and finding a common ground. The book touches on important themes like equality and compassion and exudes creativity with its beautiful illustrations and alien super-power concepts. Taking Down Ms. Moody is a fun read and has great potential for shaping young readers.
– Matthew Smee, Teaching for Change intern