I spent an hour Thursday morning with Erica Peake’s writing class at North Central Middle School (NCMS). Peake’s class is made up of a mix of some very bright and inquisitive sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Thursday served as Reading Day -- a day to talk about a book they recently read: City of Orphans by Avi, with illustrations by Greg Ruth. (Avi is the pen name of children’s author Edward Irving Wortis.) I’ve never read the book, but according to its blurb on Amazon, it’s set in 1893 New York City and is about 13-year-old newsboy Maks Geless; his sister, Emma, who’s been arrested for stealing a watch from the Waldorf Hotel; and the Plug Ugly Gang, led by Bruno, who -- for reasons I don’t know -- are after Maks.