As a middle schooler, I read all the time. No really! I was that kid with my nose in the book; you know the 13 year old reading All the President’s Men just yearning to have a best friend who might talk about my secret crush on Richard Nixon with me. Obviously that wasn’t gonna happen! As I got older, I found more and more that I was tucking my real self away in order to fit in with the crowd and the only place I could still be my authentic self was when I sat down and got lost in a book. In those pages, I could be the fantastic, amazing, outstanding girl I knew I really was no matter how strange that might be. As a middle school teacher, I find many of my students in a similar predicament. I see them tucking their amazingness away just to be one of the crowd. When they look on my shelves for books, if they’re not into kissy books or cliquey books, or adventure books or vampire books, they kind of seem to be out of luck. So I decided to put together a book of stories for them. These stories are based on kids with lives that aren’t perfect. These kids may look like you or someone you know. Maybe they just seem like kids you could sit down with and chat about what your obsession. I tried to make these stories just the right length. Really, if you are forced to read inside or outside of the classroom, you should be able to read one story in one to three sittings, depending on how many distractions you have to deal with. Some of these stories are based on my experiences, some are based on people I have known and others are based on students I have taught. My hope is that through these stories you can untuck your wonderfulness and enjoy being odd.
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