It's the first day of school for Mia Lee. She's already lived through six first days of school but this is the first year it's been about going to Terrywood-Weston Middle School and she's a little bit nervous. Lucky for her she spots her BFF, Caroline, as soon as she gets there and the two girls team up and head in to begin their new adventure together.
Mia and Caroline have a tough job in front of them. They have to figure out how to fit in to middle school and how to be true to themselves at the same time. Mia hears about the Video Production Club and decides to see what it's all about. She loves to create videos and she's really good at it. At the first meeting she learns she could run for club president. Unfortunately, Angela Vanover, Miss Popularity of T-W Middle School, has plans to join the club and run for president, too, and as Angela's lieutenant, Jess, says to anybody within hearing distance, Angela doesn't like to lose.
Thing is, Mia is different. She has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. It's a form of muscular dystrophy and having it means she can't make her hands and legs "do what she wants them to do." That means holding a pencil can be hard, eating carrots can be hard and even walking can be hard. That's what you see on the outside and in middle school that can be tough.
Melissa Shang has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and she wrote this book to help kids her own age understand that having a disability on the outside doesn't make you different on the inside. By reading about Mia we get to see into what it feels like to be in a wheelchair having a hard time with walking and at the same time having a great online following when she posts one of the time stop videos she loves to create.
Mia's voice rings true. As she struggles with wanting to be Angela's friend and wanting to be Caroline's friend, you feel as though you are back in middle school dealing with the Mean Girls and trying to figure yourself.
This is a great read-aloud for a 5th grade class to give them a chance to stand in all the characters' shoes and talk about what lies ahead in the sixth grade...and it would be a great read-aloud for a sixth grade class so they can talk about what they're going through.
Perfect pacing, a main character who has enough self-confidence and authenticity and a cast of middle schoolers whose pictures could be in your yearbook lift this one head and shoulders above the crowd. Brava to Melissa and her sister, Eva for giving us a book that shows us the girl and sets the disability to the side.
103 pages 978-0692746905 Ages 9-13
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
Hello, sixth grade! Mia Lee is a stop-motion filmmaker with a wheelchair and a lot of sass, trying to survive her new middle school. Which doesn’t seem so easy when she’s running for Video Production Club President against certified Middle School Mean Girl, Angela Vanover. Things get weird when Angela starts being nice to her - well, when other people are around, at least. But when Mia’s campaign posters for VP Club President mysteriously vanish - no tape, no poster, no nothin’ - the presidential race gets real. With the help of her brain files, an awesome aide with keys to the whole school, and her friends, Rory, Daniela, and Caroline, Mia finds herself on a mission to prove Angela isn’t just an ordinary middle school mean girl, she’s a thief!--from the publisher