Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting! (And Lives to Tell About It.)

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting! (And Lives to Tell About It.) Book Poster Image
Fun text-gone-wrong tale promotes offline relationships.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Gives tweens some perspective on the hazards of living life completely behind a smartphone screen. It uses common occurrences -- such as a mean text sent to the wrong person -- as teaching tools. 

Positive Messages

The greatest message readers will take away is that though cell phones are important for keeping in touch with parents and having fun, they also can desensitize you to the need for real human interaction.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even though Katie makes mistakes, she and her friends are some of the most honest and thoughtful characters you'll find in popular literature today. Adults in the book are engaged with the kids, but let them figure out their own solutions to their problems.

Violence
Sex

Boy/girl tween dating and talk of kissing.

Language

Mild name-calling, including "caveman" and "phonie."

Consumerism

Mostly fictional brand names with some pop culture references, such as E.T.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting! (And Lives to Tell About It.) focuses on a girl's attempt to give up texting after she accidentally sends a mean text about a classmate to that classmate's cell phone. There is typical middle school relationship stuff that gets sorted out and worked through, including fights with friends, secrets, and some heartbreak.

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What's the story?

Katie Friedman has a big problem. But when she wants to talk about it, all her friends are completely engrossed in their phones. Katie will be the first to admit she spends the majority of her out-of-school time texting the day away, but now she's starting to wonder about her addiction. After she sends a mean text to the person she was talking about, she vows to give up her phone. Can she do it, and, more importantly, will others join her?

Is it any good?

This is a fun read that addresses technology addiction without being too preachy or simplistic. Author Tommy Greenwald creates a great story that begins with an all-too-common occurrence: sending a text to the wrong person. As the characters deal with the fallout of the mistext, Greenwald shows them to be tweens who are surprisingly open and forthcoming in their face-to-face communication.

A fun romp, the book isn't designed to get kids to give up tech, but it will make them think twice about "keyboard courage." It also serves as a great opportunity to engage in discussions about tech time and things friends can do outside of tech to connect. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the use of texting and social media in their own homes. What are the rules? How can you tell when you're relying too heavily on electronic communication?

  • How important is downtime from social media and texting? What activities and events do you do with friends that would not require you to have your phone with you? 

  • Have you ever posted things about someone you'd never say to them face-to-face? Talk about social media safety and etiquette.

Book details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love middle school stories

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