The Adventures of Jeff and Reed: A Four-Story Anthology

These stories capture the anxieties, disappointments, and hard-earned triumphs that punctuate the tween years and give young readers valuable lessons about perseverance, self-respect, courage, and friendship.

Authors: Jen Kennedy and Wendy Falk
Illustrator: Stephanie Hider
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Jeff is a popular athlete who hangs with the cool kids. Reed is a brainy overachiever who is a social outcast.

The Adventures of Jeff and Reed is a four-story anthology that explores the many anxieties, insecurities, and thrills tweens experience as they transition from elementary to middle school.

The anthology begins with The Pirate and the Ink Blot, where readers meet Jeff Kirkland and Reed Williams. Jeff is forced to wear a vision-correcting eye patch. The stares from strangers and the hurtful taunts from friends leave him feeling isolated and miserable. Reed can relate. A social outcast, he often is made fun of because of his appearance: the flaming red hair, the freckles, and the facial birthmark his classmates mockingly call the “ink blot.” When Jeff and Reed are paired together in a class assignment, it’s the beginning of a friendship journey that will challenge, surprise, and reward them in the most unexpected ways.

Their bond continues to grow and evolve in story two, Reed’s Rant. Reed learns his father will be sent abroad for work, and the impending separation haunts him. Reed doesn’t know what he’ll do without his biggest supporter and best friend. He tries to suppress all his fears and anxieties, but they spill out in one explosive episode at school. Jeff can see his buddy is hurting, but has no clue what to do. He hopes his dad, who’s never failed him before, can provide the answer. 

As Jeff and Reed grapple with life’s uncertainties, they say goodbye to the comfort and familiarity of elementary school. In Middle Ground One and Middle Ground Two, the boys step into the strange, messy, and marvelous world of middle school. But are they prepared for what’s to come – the higher expectations, the shifting social hierarchies, and the secret crushes?

The Adventures of Jeff and Reed is an entertaining and revealing look at the power of courage, the price of fear, the importance of self-respect, the rewards of perseverance, and the value of true friendship.   

Enhance the lessons learned in these stories by purchasing the accompanying downloadable activity guides. Each guide has discussion questions and thoughtful activities to go with the corresponding story.  The downloadable guides are:

Published by Boys Town Press
ISBN: 979-8-88907-004-7
Juvenile Fiction
Full Color Illustrations
89 pages
Softcover, 6"x9"
Grades 5-7; Ages 10-13
Lexile Measure: HL610L
F&P Level: W