Four score and many years after that.. well maybe not that many.. I was a middle school student. In fact, it was soooo long ago that they referred to the tween/early teen years as “later elementary” or junior high school. If you relate then you too are closer to retirement then having your 21st birthday candle, like me. I mention this as a point of reference, because I wish that when I was suffering through those tumultuous years that I had access to great reads, such as provided to the contemporary tweens and teens of our day by Annie Fox and her Middle School Confidential series.
There is so much to LOVE about the Middle School Confidential series. The characters, who appear both in print and through comic book-esque illustrations, are very likable and relatable. You can see yourself, your friends, your kids in at least one if not more of the central characters in this three book series. Annie Fox started her trilogy with a book about accepting yourself. Her BE CONFIDENT IN WHO YOU ARE, starts her series with introducing her cast of young teens and exploring their relationships, including feeling accepted by each other and even more difficult accepting themselves. Annie takes great lengths to explain that bullies and bullying are not to be revered and that kids need to be be kind, thoughtful, considerate and also to work through friendships when you can and know how to leave relationships that prove to be unhealthy. It is of no surprise that Annie went on to found the group CRUEL is NOT COOL– an anti-bullying and education program to help children.
Her next book, Real Friends vs. the Other Kind is one that should sit on every shelf a teen who has a cell phone or uses social – media. This second book is a cautionary tale that words do hurt and one must take care with negotiating the middle school scene. As with all of her books, Annie intersperses the story with sage advice for middle schoolers. Her gentle guidance with sound resources is a theme that is seen through all three of her books and gives an extra bonus to the value of the series that as a parent and school psychologist makes the Middle School Confidential series a “must have”.
Probably my favorite is the newest, which I once before reviewed. As a school psychologist I encountered a lot of families in crisis. I also counseled many kids who wondered how they were going to survive and thrive in a family which had major turmoil. Some kids simply wanted to be assured that their “different kind of family” was normal. All of these concerns could easily have been ameliorated if I had a copy of What’s Up with My Family. Again, Annie Fox has ventured in to the psyche of middle schoolers by answering some important questions about families in the 21st century with the tone of a kind friend who comes with sage advice.
Now I could end my blog review of the Middle School Confidential series with lots of flowery phrases telling you how these books should be included in every library and home shelf in America. And I will. But, before that, I want to just go off the path of the usual review and tell you about my recent meeting with Annie Fox.
Annie and I recently got together in San Fransisco. She is a dynamo. We hugged the moment we saw each other as if we were long-lost friends. But, in actuality we had just met for the first time. This is the way Annie Fox operates. Within minutes she wants to sit and talk with you about the state of the world, how to reduce if not remove bullying from the daily lives of children and adults and how to create products, such as her amazing applications for kids! You can’t help but feel energized when you meet Annie! And also you will quickly learn that Annie is passionate about authors, educational issues and desserts! I can’t wait to see her ipad apps come out for all to enjoy!
I am honored to write this review for her and even more excited to call her my friend.
The Middle School Confidential series can be found at bookstores and online. That is of course if you don’t already have it on your shelves (wink).