Dear Savvy Auntie,

By: Katie Harrison

As kids enter middle school, they may experience ups and downs. Here are five chapter book series to help kids adjust and enjoy the middle school experience. And have a few more laughs along the way.

1. Jacky Ha-Ha, James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, 2016

This story, the first installment of a new series by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, follows a twelve-year-old girl named Jacky, the class clown who loves more than anything to make everyone around her laugh. But it doesn’t matter how much Jacky makes everyone laugh; she still has her own doubts and worries. Can she continue to please others with her jokes while also taking care of herself?

From the publisher: “James Patterson introduces his hilarious new heroine, Jacky Ha-Ha, a class clown who makes people laugh with her so they can't laugh at her.
With her irresistible urge to tell a joke in every situation—even when she really, really shouldn't—twelve-year-old Jacky Ha-Ha loves to make people laugh. And cracking wise helps distract her from thinking about not-so-funny things in her life, like her mom serving in a dangerous, faraway war, and a dad who's hardly every home.
But no matter how much fun Jacky has, she can't seem to escape her worries. So one starlit night, she makes a promise to keep her family together...even if she has to give up the one thing that makes her happy. But can she stop being Jacky Ha-Ha, if that's who she really is?”

2. The Wayside School Collection, Louis Sachar, 2005

The stories of the Wayside School are nothing short of wacky. The school was built with the classrooms on top of one another instead of side-by-side. There are funny teachers, and the craziest of things, like some of the children being turned into apples and young girls trying to sell their toes, happening in the classrooms. Is this really what middle school is like?

From the publisher: “There'd been a terrible mistake. Wayside School was supposed to be built with thirty classrooms one on top of the other...thirty stories tall! (The builder said he was very sorry.) That may be why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside School...especially on the thirteenth floor. You'll meet Mrs. Gorf, the meanest teacher of all, terrible Todd, who always gets sent home early, and John who can read only upside down--along with all the other kids in the crazy mix-up school that came out sideways. But you'll never guess the truth about Sammy, the new kid...or what's in store for Wayside School on Halloween!”

3. Liar, Liar, Flat Broke, and Crush, Gary Paulsen, 2011-2012

This series of three books follows a boy named Kevin. In the first, Liar, Liar, Kevin is talented at convincing people of something other than the truth, even though he doesn’t mean to cause trouble with his lies. In Flat Broke, Kevin is all out of cash, and tries to find a way to make money, which shows a more driven, mature side of Kevin. And in Paulsen’s Crush Kevin tries his hardest to impress his crush, Tina Zabinski, the “Most Beautiful Girl in the World.” Kevin goes through the typical middle school rounds, and may help your niece or nephew through their time at school.

From the publisher, Liar, Liar: “Kevin doesn’t mean to make trouble when he lies. He’s just really good at it, and it makes life so much easier. But as his lies pile up, he finds himself in big—and funny—trouble with his friends, family, and teachers. He’s got to find a way to end his lying streak—forever.”

4. How I Survived Middle School, Nancy Krulik, 2006-2010

Jenny McAfee is a pre-teen girl doing her very best to make her way through middle school. Jenny tackles what middle school has to offer – new friends, classes, popular groups of kids, first crushes, and school spirit.

From the publisher: “The series centers around a pre-teen girl named Jenny McAfee as she enters and goes through middle school. The series has gained popularity among both young adults and librarians for the interactions built into the series for readers, such as self-scored quizzes.”

5. The Worst-Case Scenario Series, Rob Epstein and Ben Winters, 2009

This series offers help for a multitude of things to tackle: travel; holidays; and life in general, but the one you and your niece or nephew would want is the Middle School book. It gives quick tips for young kids making their way through a new school environment, such as a crazy homework schedule, awkward moments, and heartbreak.

From the publisher: “Homework, hormones, heartache...middle school has no shortage of perils. Never fear, the authors of the best-selling Worst-Case Scenario series return with a survival guide for those who are facing or just about to face this big transitional time in school and life. The handbook is packed with funny-but-useful tips for the trickiest situations that crop up in middle school, like taking charge of a too-busy homework schedule, dealing with a cold shoulder from a friend who has suddenly become just too cool, avoiding common e-mail and cell phone disasters, and more.”

Photos: monkeybusinessimages
Published: March 30, 2016

5 Perfect Book Series for Middle Schoolers

Dear 5 Perfect Book Series for Middle Schoolers,


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