Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree

Book review by
Kate James, Common Sense Media
Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree Book Poster Image
Outcast finds her niche in smart, funny read.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Some risky behaviors (writing fake letters, climbing a dangerously tall tree) don't have negative consequences. Junior high life is depicted very optimistically; in real life, Emma-Jean would probably be subject to a lot of ridicule.

Violence & Scariness

A kid falls out of a tree.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book addresses the death of a parent. Also, Emma-Jean writes several fake letters with no consequences.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byecv2000 November 13, 2011

"Unique" By someone age 10

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell out of a Tree is an great book based on two girls who experience an event beggining in the girls bathroom. The two girls find themselves... Continue reading
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written bypeony April 9, 2008
Kid, 11 years old November 13, 2011

Emma Jean Lazarus experince reveiw

I think this book teaches you about the real problems you face and all the characters express how to solve it.......freindship!
Teen, 14 years old Written byh8rPatrol December 21, 2010

What's the story?

Unlike many kids in junior high, Emma-Jean is happy... in a way. By becoming a combination of \"Super Not-Care Girl\" and \"Nancy freakin' Drew,\" Emma-Jean can closely observe the kids around her, even if she can't count any of them among her friends. One of Emma-Jean's best friends had been her father who died two years before. Since then, she has detached herself from the kids at school. That's why it's all the more surprising when Colleen Pomerantz, a girl in her class, confides in her. On a whim, Emma-Jean helps out Colleen, only to set in motion a chain of events that will mean Emma-Jean might have to leave the safety of her outsider status and join the chaos of Gladstone Middle School.

Is it any good?

If only we could all have a friend like Emma-Jean Lazarus. Or at least be like Emma-Jean, whom fellow student Colleen Pomerantz thinks of enviously as "Super Not-Care Girl." Emma-Jean doesn't care what the other kids think of her, and it's a good thing too, because everyone thinks she's really strange. When her mom suggests they look up "strange" in the dictionary, they find an apt definition of Emma-Jean: "extraordinary, remarkable, singular." All words, incidentally, that describe Lauren Tarshis' new book.

Tarshis omits the hackneyed formula of the junior high melodrama where boys, crushes, and notes read aloud in class rule the day. Instead she addresses real problems kids face at school: friends who tend to bully or teachers who seem to have it "in" for you. Better still, the style of writing reflect's Emma-Jean's train of thought which is intelligent, logical, and humorous; the book is fun without ever feeling frivolous.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Emma-Jean copes with the death of her father. Does moving on with life mean you have to forget about the person who died? Also, do you know anyone at school who doesn't have friends? How are they treated? How do you treat them?

Book details

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate