A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
While there’s a bit of STEM information and attention to academics, real emphasis is on emotional growth and health and navigating tumultuous start to middle school that so many readers can relate to.
Friendships change. Try hard because anything is possible. Be true to yourself. Own up to mistakes.
Positive Role Models
Hope and her parents have open conversations about how she feels about what’s happening in her classes, and they're supportive of both her academic work and her choices.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Alyssa Milano and Debbie Rigaud’s Project Middle School: Hope: Book 1 deftly covers many of the issues kids face at the start of middle school, and does so while also validating inclusion, ambition, and compassion. There's a lot of anxiety at the start of (and, let's be honest, throughout) these years, and this is a judgment-free look at the ways a group of soon-to-be friends faces the challenge of simultaneously fitting into their school and standing out in their advanced classes. The variety of races, backgrounds, family situations, and academic interests is refreshing, and readers of many backgrounds will see themselves on these pages.
Is It Any Good?
The message here -- about navigating new situations, owning up to mistakes, being true to yourself -- starts out a little heavy handed, but the storytelling evens out as the book progresses. There's a surprising amount packed into Project Middle School: Hope: Book 1: STEM-focused kids of all backgrounds working hard to do well at a new school, old friendships changing and new ones beginning, robots, and rescue dogs. It's all fast-paced with an eye for the feelings and outlook of young middle schoolers who are overwhelmed by the bigness of a new school and feeling out of sorts themselves. Hope is a bright star to navigate their changing world with humor, honesty, and dog treats.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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