Who are the adults in Marysville who help Doug in Gary Schmidt's Okay for Now?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Gary Schmidt's Okay for Now, one of the most helpful adults in Doug's life is Mr. Ferris, his science teacher. One way in which Mr. Ferris helps Doug is by comforting Doug through letting him know Mr. Ferris does not equate Doug with his brother, who everyone assumes is a juvenile delinquent. Mr. Ferris further helps Doug by being the very first teacher to recognize that Doug has not yet learned how to read. Mr. Ferris then arranges for Doug to meet with his English teacher, Miss Cowper, for private after-school reading lessons. Doug very quickly learns the fundamentals of reading; he is soon able to read Jane Eyre all on his own.

Another adult who helps Doug is Mr. Ballard, the boss of Doug's father. Mr. Ballard is quick to sense what Doug's home life is like and does what he can to help. For example, when Doug's Joe Pepitone's jacket is stolen, Mr. Ballard gives Doug his old "dark leather" flight jacket to keep Doug from freezing in the upstate New York winter weather. He is also one of the first adults to show respect for Doug's opinion. Mr. Ballard shows respect by quickly agreeing with Doug that the Audubon portrait titled Yellow Shank he had just purchased should be returned to the library.

Other adults who help Doug throughout the story are Mr. Powell, who gives Doug drawing lessons that significantly boost his confidence, and Doug's delivery customers, such as Mrs. Mason, Mr. Loeffler, Mrs. Daugherty, and Mrs. Windermere, who develop friendships with Doug and do many small things to help him out, like give him warm drinks when he delivers their groceries in the freezing cold weather.

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