Tag Archives: School

Smile

Smile

Smile

Finally, a story that’s really what it’s like to get braces. Not somebody saying, “it will be worth it later,” or somebody saying, “it’s little wires, it can’t hurt that much!” Raina’s story is the real deal. If you want to know what braces will really be like, this is the book to read.

Raina is in the sixth grade when she falls and knocks out her two front teeth – her permanent teeth. This incident sets in motion a series of dental visits that last for the next three years: molds, braces, headgear, brackets, wires, rubber bands, bonding, a retainer - about any procedure that can be done to teeth, Raina has done.  And she has it all done between sixth grade and ninth grade…in Middle School…right when she’s getting worried about how she looks and what other people will think.

Raina tells her story in all its gory detail from the pain to the funny looks to the self-conscious smiles. Her story isn’t just about braces raina-dentistthough, it’s about Middle School. She makes and loses friends, discovers that some boys are cute (and nice) and figures out how to be confident in her own self. She earns her smile, and it isn’t just from the dental work. This one is a graphic novel - be sure to look inside. Author: Raina Telgemeier

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Operation Yes

Operation Yes

Operation Yes

This is a story about kids that live on a military base and attend school there.  Bo’s Dad is the commander on the base where Bo’s family lives. The base is in the US, so for now, Bo doesn’t have to worry about his Dad. But Bo lives with the reality that this could change, his Dad could be deployed to Afghanistan at any moment. Bo’s cousin Gari is also a military kid. Gari’s mom is a military nurse and has been sent to Iraq, so for the time being, Gari is living with Bo’s family.

Bo and Gari are both in the sixth grade and have Miss Loupe for their teacher. Miss Loupe knows all about army brats (that’s what people call kids whose parents are in the military). Miss Loupe knows about army brats because she teaches them and because she was one. Her brother is in Afghanistan so she knows about the worry her students feel too.

On the first day of school the kids realize Miss Loupe isn’t your average teacher. (And it’s not just her tatoos!) They don’t know what to expect when she walks in the room and begins taping off a large rectangle on the floor at the front of the class. She doesn’t even say anything, just gets down on the floor and starts taping. The kids learn that the tape rectangle is an imaginary stage and that Miss Loupe doesn’t want to be the only one on it. Drama and improv (short for improvisation – which is a kind of acting where there is no script, the actors just make it up as they go) are techniques Miss Loupe uses in her class to teach skills – even math and science, subjects not usually associated with drama.

The students learn to express themselves when they are called to “the stage”. The improv stage helps them learn to think on their feet and try really hard to say what they mean. As the year progresses the class and Miss Loupe become successful in their studies and close as a group.

When Miss Loupe’s brother goes missing in Afghanistan, the kids lose their energentic engaged teacher. Miss Loupe becomes distant and sad and sometimes she doesn’t even come to school. The kids understand why. What Miss Loupe is gong through is the very situation each one of them worries about. The kids decide that it is their job to bring Miss Loupe back by focusing all their energies on their soldier relatives and what they can do to support them. Working on their own, the kids cook up an elaborate, imaginative plan to help Miss Loupe, themselves, and their military community face the worries of war together. The kids use their new drama skills to stage a very surprising production.

I really liked Bo and Gari, Miss Loupe and the other kids in the class. I liked them because none of them were perfect. Even Miss Loupe. It is really clear that she is a great teacher and the kids love her, but she has her troubles too, just like all the kids in the class. I like characters that are a balance of their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t want to just see the good parts because people aren’t really like that.

Miss Loupe’s improvisation activities help the kids learn  how to adapt to changes they can’t predict. That’s a skill each one of them needs, because in their lives, you just never know. The kids never could have predicted that Miss Loupe would have such a life altering event, but when this unexpected thing DOES happen, they are able to use their best skills to come up with a plan and implement it – that is moving forward even when things are tough and you don’t think you can. Author: Sara Holmes

If you liked getting to know these military kids you might also like to read about Piper Reed, she’s a Navy brat.

#1: Piper Reed Navy Brat
#2: Piper Reed the Great Gypsy
#3: Piper Reed Gets a Job

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Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright

Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright

Stage Fright

Allie Finkle’s back with more rules for girls. Her class is putting on a play and Mrs. Hunter announces that the students must audition for the parts. Allie is sure she wants to audition for the main part, Princess Penelope, so she can wear a pretty dress and a tiara and be the star. But before she can say which part she wants to audition for, her friend Sophie says SHE wants to be Penelope too. The auditions pit friend against friend for the most coveted parts. It’s a competition and some good rules just might keep the auditions from getting ugly.

1. No one likes a sore loser.
2. No one likes a sore winner.
3. It’s important to accept victory modestly. (Then you can celebrate all you want in private, where the losers can’t see you.)

The auditions also pit friend against enemy. Allie and Sophie both hope to be Penelope, but even more, they definitely don’t want bragging Cheyenne to get the part. “back in Canada, I was actually the lead in all my school plays…I brought my head shot and resume in to show Mrs. Hunter. I guess none of you brought head shots and resumes, did you?” Blech. Allie and her friends are NOT impressed.

The audition day turns out to be pretty emotional. Everybody’s nervous and not everybody gets the part they want. How each person reacts to their victory or their disappointment is the fun of reading about Allie and her classmates. Despite the victory dances and the tears and the drama queen temper tantrums the show must go on so Allie can add one more rule to her list, “There are no small parts, only small actors.”

Don’t miss Allie’s other adventures and if you like her, try Bobby’s story – it’s really funny too!
Moving Day The New Girl Best Friends and Drama Queens Bobby vs. the Girls Accidently
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Allie Finkle’s rules for Girls: Best Friends and Drama Queens

Allie Finkle’s rules for Girls: Best Friends and Drama Queens

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Best Friends and Drama Queens

4th grader Allie is excited when she finds out there is a new girl in her class. The new girl’s name is Cheyenne and she’s from Canada – which makes her sound kind of exotic and interesting. She’s interesting all right. And bossy. And mean. Cheyenne immediately collects a group of friends – her clique – and labels anyone she hasn’t chosen “immature”. Then she starts a kissing game at recess and begins insisting that the boys and girls pair up and start “going with” each other. Allie wants to know…what does “going with” even mean? Dealing with Cheyenne, and having the courage to stand up to her, helps Allie add another rule to her list of school survival tips: “Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s good.” Anybody who has ever had to deal with a controlling, bossy mean girl will cheer outloud for Allie and her friends.

#1 Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day
#2 Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: The New Girl
#3 Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Best Friends and Drama Queens
#4 Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright

More girls dealing with best friends & drama queens:
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell in Love Jemma Hartman Every Soul a Star Rules
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The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy

The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy

The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy

Sisters Franny and Zo and their brother J.D. find themselves being admitted to an exclusive boarding school called the Allbright Academy. Only Zo really qualified but she refuses to attend unless her brother and sister can go too. That’s how bad the Academy wants to recruit Zo.

The school’s buildings and grounds are like a picture postcard, the food is exceptional and the school makes chocolate brownies available throughout the day. The kids at the school are smart, beautiful and dedicated to their studies. They are also overly nice. What could be better?

When Franny’s new friend Calpurnia gets sick and has to rest at home for a few weeks, she discovers something troubling. At home, she doesn’t seem nearly as bright or beautiful.  Something weird is definately going on. Is the Allbright Academy THAT good? What could the Allbright Academy be doing to makes its students so perfect?

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