There’s only a week and a half left in summer vacation. Soon children and teens will be back in the classroom either in a school or at the kitchen table, and school zones will be back in effect.
There are plenty of things to handle before school starts again such as preparing supplies, evaluating clothes for school-worthiness, and changing sleep schedules. I believe getting back into a school mindset is also an important form of preparation. There are various ways to achieve this goal, but I suggest approaching it by reading some of the graphic novels and chapter books available in our Children’s Department:
“Awkward, Brave, and Crush” by Svetlana Chmakova
All three of these stories take place in the shared world of Berrybrook Middle School.
Awkward focuses on Peppi and her introduction to the school. An early mistake causes problems between Peppi and her future science tutor. Even when they make up, things are still complicated due to the ongoing tension between their respective school clubs. Can the two of them get the Art Club and Science Club to work together?
Brave’s protagonist is Jensen, another member of the Art Club and a background character in Awkward. Jensen exists on the fringe of the Art Club; the other members forget to add him to group chats and seldom save him a seat at their cafeteria table. A near-encounter with bullies leads him to the school newspaper office where he meets new friends and learns about dealing with bullying in all its forms.
Crush, the most recent of Chmakova’s graphic novels, stars Jorge. He previously worked with Jensen on a school project, is a great baseball player, and is often able to stop bullying with a stern glance and a few soft-spoken words. However, he’s much less confident when it comes to his classmate Jazmine.
“All’s Faire in Middle School” by Victoria Jamieson
Imogene is a newly-promoted squire at the local renaissance faire, and is getting ready to attend middle school. She’s excited to start both, but quickly runs into problems. She has trouble fitting in with the popular crowd, causes trouble by circulating unflattering drawings of her classmates, and even throws her brother’s favourite toy stuffed squirrel into a pond. When her life falls apart entirely, all she can fall back on is something her dad tells her: “We are knights. It’s our job to make the world better. . . Chivalry. Honesty. Bravery. Right?”
“Slacker” by Gordon Korman
Cam Boxer doesn’t like much other than video games. When Cam’s obsession results in the fire department chopping down the front door to his parents’ house, his parents insist he add something worthwhile to his life. With the help of his friends, Cam creates PAG: the Positive Action Group. They believe a simple page on the school website with a broken contact link will be enough to convince Cam’s parents that he’s busy being a force for social good. But then other students and a guidance councillor learn about PAG and start signing the group up for various causes. As president, Cam is obliged to go along with all of them. Will he ever be left in peace with his games? Level 13, the sequel to Slacker, also recently arrived at GPPL.
-Jacob Fehr, GPPL