A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All's Faire in Middle School is the second graphic novel by Victoria Jamieson, who received a Newbery Honor for Roller Girl. It's about a girl who's been homeschooled all her life but decides to go to public school for sixth grade. Themes include friendship, family, how to handle your emotions, fitting in, and how to make amends when you make mistakes. There are a couple of uses of "damn" and some body function humor about farts and smells. A few illustrations show people kissing, including a middle school couple in a hallway. Bullying is shown: a rolling backpack being kicked over, food being thrown, and some hostile "queen bee" behavior. Imogene is a great role model for working toward goals, learning how to manage money, making amends when she hurts others, and learning how to handle people who try to bring you down.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
In ALL'S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, Imogene has spent her entire life around a Florida Renaissance Faire, where her parents work during fair season and where she's been homeschooled while helping her mom and dad at the fair. This year she really hopes to join the cast as a squire to her father, who plays a knight at the fair. She also decides that going to public school for sixth grade will be a good way to put her training in chivalry into practice -- and is she right. But figuring out how to be brave, kind, and honorable amid new friends, mean teachers, homework, and a pesky little brother won't be easy.
Is it any good?
Victoria Jamieson's second graphic novel for big kids and tweens is another winner. All's Faire in Middle School is a lively, colorful, fun, and funny look at learning the ropes of middle school as well as a fascinating peek behind the scenes of a Renaissance Faire. Jamieson's illustrations affectionately add an intriguing and charming Elizabethan-fantasy element (there be dragons!), and big kids and tweens will really relate to Imogene as she struggles to figure out how to navigate a big, new world, and her own big, new emotions.
Surrounded by loving and supportive adults to guide her, Imogene is a great role model for being helpful, learning from her mistakes (she makes plenty), understanding the real value of friendship and family, and, ultimately, learning how to handle people who try to bring you down with grace and humor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how All's Faire in Middle School shows different kinds of bullying. Have you seen that kind of thing at your school, or experienced it yourself? What happened? Does Imogene handle it well?
Lots of books, TV shows, and movies portray middle school as a scary, terrible place. Is it really that bad? What's scary about it? What do you, or did you, look forward to about it?
How important is fitting in? Why? Is there anything you'd be willing to give up if it meant you could fit in more at school?
- Author: Victoria Jamieson
- Illustrator: Victoria Jamieson
- Genre: Graphic Novel
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: September 5, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 248
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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