Most adults still shiver a little when the subject of middle school comes up. It is a time of the most polarizing extremes as we first begin to question everything we have been told and everything we thought we knew on our path toward becoming our true and individual selves. This new book is a welcome guide for kids from ages 11-14 by Annie Fox, an online adviser at The Insite.
I like the way she makes it clear up front that there is no one way to be and no one right answer by focusing not on one generic kid or on a lot of generalized rules but creating six different characters to illustrate different situations and responses. Since middle school is a time of a lot of internal and peer-imposed stress about conformity, she begins by talking about teasing and bullies and gets to an important question right away: “If nobody teased you, would you totally accept yourself the way you are?” This lets kids know right away that they need to think about the extent to which their anxieties are based on what goes on inside their own heads and not in what someone else said about them.
The book has comments from real-life kids about their problems and how they deal with them and helpful suggested scenarios and resources. It covers dealing with self-esteem and anger problems, empathy, kindness, and problem-solving. Today’s middle schoolers will probably still shiver decades from now when they remember their tween years, but this book will help them get through a little more smoothly.
I have one copy to give away. The first person to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “middle school” in the subject line will get the book!