Middle school is a time for new experiences, new environments and new friends. But it is also a time where the meaning of friendship gets complicated. Suddenly old friends are not so friendly anymore and new friends don’t act in ways a friend should act.
Friendship is one of the most important aspects of middle school life, but what makes a true friend? How should kids handle the difficulties in making, maintaining and losing friendships?
In her second book in the series, Middle School Confidential: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind, Annie Fox delivers another powerful, helpful and entertaining book for kids. Jack, Abby, Mateo, Jen, Chris and Michelle are entering another stage in their lives and it all begins with a seemingly simple question: what exactly do we mean when we call someone a friend?
To answer the question, Annie Fox does not step in to preach, comfort or give a straight answer. Instead the characters and information sent in by real kids serve to create a guide of questions kids can ask themselves when evaluating their friendships. The characters are faced with many problems that threaten to break apart their friendship, including a new friend who has ulterior motives, a budding romance that gets bossy, a friend who stopped eating and more.
Ultimately, the book encourages readers to make informed decisions on their own. Kids can appreciate this straightforward, no-nonsense way of dealing with a problem. There are no easy solutions, but the book is full of possibilities, which is exactly what kids need to handle their problems with friendship.
The format is the same as in the first book, with a magazine-like design coupled with graphic illustrations by Matt Kindt. Reluctant readers could easily be attracted by this style where they can flip to any page in the book to get the information they need without having to read the entire book. This alone encourages the reader to keep flipping the pages until the book has been read from cover to cover.
Some of the sections of the book include: Friendship Dilemmas; I Wasn’t Such a Good Friend; Don’t Add to the Garbage; Apologies; What’s a Friend Supposed to Do?; so-called friend; and Making New Friends. One of my favorite sections is the “Labeled and Judged Files”, where real kids share their experiences jumping to conclusions and making snap judgments only to find out that they made a mistake by judging a book by its cover.
Like Annie states in this book, never forget that “the most important part comes from inside”.
Check out her site here.