It is a classic. Timeless and full of real issues that students face. I remember reading this in the 5th grade. One thing I personally learned from this book is that it is okay for families not to be perfect. This was one of the first encounters I had with children's literature that exposed me to characters with real-life problems and struggles. This book is a reading level of 4.6. It would be used in the older grades at a time where kids are making the transition out of childhood and into adolescence, when they are discovering that the world is not always a perfect place. Grief could be discussed. Finding your identity and being different could be discussed. This is a great work and there are so many possibilities with this novel.