Hunter Park
Grade 4
Kaneohe Elementary

When Jackson was suspended from school, he learned that his teammates (The NERDS) didn’t like him. Duncan showed Jackson a surveillance tape of him bullying his companions “at the height of his popularity.” So Jackson then realized that he didn’t deserve the NERDS’ friendship. This is the scene that most amazed me. NERDS by Michael Buckley deserves the 2011 Nene Award.

“There was a strange humming sound and then holograms appeared. This time instead of a three dimensional landscape, Jackson saw a square floating before his eyes. A moment later it flickered to life-showing video footage recorded in a busy hallway. Jackson recognized it as the hall where his locker was and quickly spotted himself in the crowd. The video was taken at the height of his popularity.”

I like how Michael Buckley uses the surveillance tapes as a flashback of Jackson bullying the NERDS in the past. On the tape, Flinch was walking down the hallway and his books got knocked on the ground by Jackson. Next, Duncan got a wedgie by Jackson. Then Matilda got tripped by Jackson. Ruby’s jacket got a kick me sign taped to it by Jackson. Last, Heathcliff got a soda dumped on his head by Jackson. It helped Jackson to learn that he had upset his teammates. That is when Jackson realizes that the NERDS still don’t like him.

In this scene Jackson experienced inner conflict. He is stunned to know why his teammates don’t like him. The struggle Jackson had was that he didn’t know the Jackson in the video. He had forgotten that he was once popular and a bully. Jackson felt astonished by seeing himself bullying the NERDS. The primary conflict in the whole book is Jackson’s relationship with the team. He then attempts to get on the good side of his teammates, so he can earn their friendship.

The last great thing about this awesome scene is it leads to the resolution. Jackson eventually saves the NERDS to prove his friendship. He was then able to get on the good side of the NERDS, except for Heathcliff. (Heathcliff turns against the world because Jackson had taken delight in bullying him.) At the end of the story, Jackson and the NERDS are united, ready for another mission, and set to catch another criminal.

All in all, I think Michael Buckley deserves the 2011 Nene Award because of the creative way he uses flashback to show how Jackson bullied the NERDS at the beginning of the story. I also enjoyed the conflict and resolution. That is why NERDS by Michael Buckley deserves the 2011 Nene award.