This is an excellent book about friendship and about learning how everyone is not the same. Some have expressed concern over the violent nature of Max's father, but it is such a small portion of the book. And the emphasis of the story is not on how violent and criminal Killer Kane is, but rather on how Max does not have to be like his father, on how the friendship between Max and Kevin ("Freak") is so strong that Freak does not allow his small size to keep him from coming to his friend's rescue, and how with such a strong friendship the two boys are able to survive the cruel teasing of their classmates. The violent behavior shown in one small portion of the book is nothing compared to what children see on prime TV or in their own video games. While it is important to be aware of this content, it should not be a deterrent for sharing the book with students, especially those of a higher reading level.
If you want a good book to generate discussion about character traits, this is a good one.
I'm already on hold at the public library for the sequel "Max the Mighty."
What are you reading?