It's a jungle out there, right? We're talking middle school and we're talking the first day, first week, first months of the sixth grade. Augusta (Gus) is looking back on how it went for her in those early days and she's writing to her younger sister, Louie, who will be a sixth grader in two years. She's telling all and she does it by describing all the kinds of people you will meet in middle school. You know, the friend who isn't your friend any more, the assistant principal who doesn't listen, the teacher who has it in for you and the teacher who will become your favorite.
How does this whole sixth grade thing work? For Gus it's this:
Davis Davis has the locker on top of sixth-grader Augusta's locker and he isn't going to make it easy for her to get her stuff.... ever. That's the least of her problems as Gus starts the first weeks of the sixth grade. Her best friend, Layla, got re-zoned to a different middle school so Gus is flying solo and that means walking into every class without your best friend and worse, walking into the cafeteria at lunch time with no table of friends waiting to welcome you.
She's already seen the girl who wanted to be her friend last year who has morphed into one of the cool kids. She's already met the teacher who walks around his classroom carrying a baseball bat named Lorenzo. She's already sat behind the boy, Gabe Garrett, who doesn't know about deodorant or dandruff shampoo. She's already met her favorite teacher, Ms. Barakat, who had the class write about what they hoped would happen in the sixth grade and then read her own list to the class which ended with #5, "Finally, I hope that middle school for you can be a time of getting to know yourself and finding your village."
As if the sixth-grade is not enough, Mom and Dad are getting a divorce.
What does Louie need to know to survive the sixth grade?
Middle school can be a beast. Really a beast. Most kids, but not all, are searching for where they belong. They are looking for their tribe. How do you recognize them? How will they recognize you? Are they really out there?
Gus' tribe is worth getting to know because it turns out they may not call themselves the Silver Sisters or wear big dangling hoop earrings, but they do know what it means to be a friend. They do know what it means to be kind. They do know what it means to do the right thing. With a tribe like that, the beast fades to a memory and the fun begins. Turns out Ms. Barakat was right. You can find your village.
47 people you'll meet includes a sister who doesn't see someone who needs her, parents who are caught up in their own dysfunctional world, middle schoolers who are looking for a place in the "hierarchy," a contest involving Binaca and a great bunch of kids you'd like to have sit next to you on that first day of middle school. This book feels like a best friend.
304 pages 978-1524765149 Ages 9-12
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
Keywords: acceptance; middle school; friendship; divorce; growing up; belonging; fitting in
Getting ready to start middle school? Well, you'll need to know what to expect. Get to know every person you'll meet and how they can help (and who to stay away from!).
Dear Louie, You've been asking and asking about what middle school is like, but I just thought they were annoying-younger-sister questions. Even though I am almost done with my first year, I can still remember when I thought middle school was a mystery, so I'll try to give you a leg up. I know middle school is a lot to figure out. But since I still haven't worked it all out yet, I'm happy to help as much as I can. That's what big sisters are for. Love, Gus
Discover the ins and outs of middle school in this guide from an older sister to her younger sister. From tackling a new building to meeting new people like the assistant principal, the class pet, the Huggers, the renegade, the tomato kid, your old best friend's new best friend, this is a must-read for everyone starting middle school.
With wit and warmth, Kristin Mahoney, author of Annie's Life in Lists, delivers heartwarming, pitch-perfect advice, ideal for anyone nervously approaching middle school.--from the publisher