Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Something Instructive For A Change

Today I was at the library, and I found Amelia's 6th-Grade Notebook by Marissa Moss. Amelia's Notebook is very much what it sounds like--it looks like an old-fashioned notebook with lined paper filled with printing and pictures, as if it were a sixth-grade girl's thoughts and doodles.

Amelia's thoughts all have to do with starting sixth-grade at middle-school, a big change for her. She struggles with the things most kids starting middle-school struggle with--finding her way around the building, dealing with so many teachers, figuring out where to sit in the cafeteria, living in her trouble-making older sister's shadow. She has difficulties with one particular teacher, and a big part of the story is about how she deals with him.

I had a feeling that many aspects of the story were supposed to be funny, especially the notes she writes under the pictures she draws. But the humor just wasn't there for me. In addition, the whole book is very lesson-heavy. Studying art is good, and you can learn things in that class that carry over into other parts of life. Stand up to bullies, even when they are teachers. (The whole teacher plot semed a little over the top to me, though I definitely believe there are teachers out there who enjoy bullying kids. I just didn't find this one very believable or the meltdown that improved things for Amelia.)

The book really does seem like a guide for kids in Amelia's position. In fact, there are a whole series of Amelia books that deal with all kinds of kid problems--long car trips, gossip, bullies. While I didn't find Amelia's 6th Grade Notebook particularly interesting or entertaining, myself, I would certainly look into picking up an Amelia book that dealt with a problem area for a particular child.

In fact, when I saw that whole list of Amelia books at the Simon & Schuster website, I couldn't help but feel badly for kids. It's a rough world out there. Moss could go on writing Amelia books indefinitely.

Plans For Happy Kid! Giveaway Completed

As I mentioned earlier, I'm going to try to make this year's Publication Day special with a book giveaway. I'll be giving away six copies of Happy Kid! on May 19th in honor of the books's publication on May 18th. Go to my home page to learn how you can become one of the lucky winners.

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