Middle School Misfits: The Stained Glass Tree
Drama defines middle school, especially for Jilly. Not that she likes drama. She’d rather walk invisibly through the hallways than have any eyes turn toward her. But drama will always find Jilly. With Mom battling depression, and the family’s financial struggles, they move frequently. As the family bounces from town to town, Jilly changes schools… a lot! And there is nothing scarier than coming into a new school smack in the middle of the semester. With her country accent… clothes that are far from cool… an odd, funny-to-pronounce family name (that earns her a terrible nickname)… Jilly feels like an outcast. A misunderstood misfit. Can she find a way to fit in while still being true to herself? Independent readers and middle school students will relate to the challenges and joys that Jilly and her schoolmates experience in this timeless tale about facing your fears, making new friends (and frenemies), and avoiding, as much as possible, those humiliating middle school screw-ups. Discussion points and tips are included. 128 pgs.
Published by Boys Town Press
Middle School Misfits: The Stained Glass Tree gives middle graders the chance to look at Jilly’s actions and ask themselves how she’s handled the situations in her life. At the end of every chapter, questions are provided in thinking critically about what they’ve read, and there is also a space for notes. This is not only a well-written story with an engaging plot and very real characters, but it also provides a wonderful opportunity for classroom discussion. I highly recommend it.
In this debut chapter book, Jilly is forced to change middle schools in the middle of the school year, and balances the desire to fit in while still being true to herself and avoiding humiliating screw-ups. What I loved is how the book includes ample discussion options for parents or teachers to use with kids, to make sure they're really getting the point and to provide an outlet for questions that may naturally come up while reading.