Nate Rocks the School

Children - Grade 4th-6th
138 Pages
Reviewed on 01/24/2013
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Author Biography

Karen Pokras Toz lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. Karen’s middle grade childrens’ novels: Millicent Marie Is Not My Name and the Nate Rocks series, have won several awards including First Place for Children’s Chapter Books and the Grand Prize Overall in the 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for a Global E-Book Award for Pre-Teen Literature. Karen is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). Her first adult contemporary novel, invisible, will be released this summer. For more information, please visit

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

"Nate Rocks the School" by Karen Pokras Toz is the story of Nate Rockledge, otherwise known as Nate Rocks. When we first meet Nate, he is getting a parental approval form filled out by his mom for the Fifth-Grade Trip to New York City, the highlight of every fifth grade class at Nate’s school. While he is waiting for his mom to sign the form, however, Nate slips off into a daydream where a gigantic robot is menacing the city, and the mayor is pleading with Nate to save the day. Nate quickly analyzes the situation and races to the top of a building to deal with the marauding robot. As the mayor and the grateful residents congratulate Nate on his heroic act, his mom asks him why he has been drawing robots all over his permission form. Nate and his friends have been looking forward to the city trip, and they are appalled to hear that this year’s outing may have to be cancelled due to funding problems. He and his class must figure out fundraising projects that can help cover the costs of the trip. While they do so, Nate continues to solve dire problems in his daydreams.

Nate is a very cool kid with an even cooler name. His daydreams provide a lot of fun. The main plot of the story, the efforts of the kids to finance their school trip, is very well-handled by Toz. The kids learn to work together, even with those they don’t necessarily get along with and, with the help of their teacher, come up with several different ways to raise the funds. I really enjoyed "Nate Rocks the School". Nate, his family and friends are brought to life and become like people I know. The teacher, Mrs. Cogin, is fabulous. Although strict and down-to-earth, she never patronizes or attempts to influence Tommy, Lisa and Nate. What starts out as a financial threat to the class trip ends up being a real learning experience for the fifth graders. Toz has a good cast of characters in this middle school series and has the ability to get readers of all ages involved in her stories. "Nate Rocks the School" is fun and well-worth your time.

Mina Rivera

Nate Rocks is back as a fifth grader armed with paper, pen, and his ever powerful imagination. He is very excited to be a fifth grader for a lot of reasons. Being a fifth grader means that he no longer needs to hang with the younger kids in school, and it also means that he will be going to the fifth graders annual trip to New York, something he and his classmates are all very excited about. Not even his annoying classmate, Lisa Crane, could lessen his excitement about going on that trip. But there's one big problem. The fifth graders need to raise enough money for the trip. By a surprising twist of fate, Nate and his friend Tommy was picked to head the planning committee in raising the funds. It's just too bad they had to head it along with Lisa too. Nate's family supports him as he goes on an adventure to save the fifth grader's New York trip.

Any child reading "Nate Rocks the School" would be able to jump into another world and go through the same adventures as Nate does. It allows any child to explore their own imagination and dream. It's such a great way to encourage your child's imagination, creativity and sense of fun. This installment in the Nate Rocks series helps every mom teach their child the value of teamwork, responsibility, creativity, compassion, and courage. I highly recommend that you read Nate Rocks the School with your child. Not only would it be fun for your child, you'd also have a topic for cool conversations with them.

Darin Godby

In Karen Pokras Toz's "Nate Rocks the School", we meet Nate who seems to be a typical teenager, but soon the reader finds out that he is indeed very different. While Nate likes to dream, his dreams take him along a variety of paths that call upon him to help save the day. He may help people escape a building, find a missing child or many other adventurous activities. While the school class is getting ready to go to New York, they need to raise funds in order to afford the trip as the schools funds have been severally cut. Nate and his friends work hard to come up with fund raising events, but always come up short until the night of the auction when someone truly makes a believer out of Nate that dreams can come true. Nate's mother isn't the best of cooks and he certainly appreciates the abilities and creativity of his friend’s mothers as they invite him to share a meal with them. He tries to avoid getting paired up with a girl that his mom thinks he would be great with, yet he finds himself constantly around her.

In Karen Pokras Toz's "Nate Rocks the School", Nate is looked upon as a superhero, performing heroic acts throughout the story. This would be a great book to have in schools and for children to share at home with their parents. The constant adventure keeps it from ever bogging down. If someone is looking for a book for their child, this is truly an adventurous, exciting, interesting and fun story to read.