Published by Aladdin/Beyond Words
Summary: Seventh grade English teacher Luke Reynolds draws on his experience as a former middle school student and current middle school teacher to give kids some words of wisdom on topics like peer pressure, grades, parents, and romance. Each chapter starts with a story about one of Reynolds’ students, goes on to give advice about a particular topic, and concludes with an exercise, usually written, to help kids come up with their own answers about that issue. A recommended resources chapter at the end includes lists of books and movies to inspire and instruct the middle school crowd. 192 pages; grades 5-8.
Pros: I’d like to sit in on Mr. Reynolds’ class; he seems funny, caring, and insightful about the human condition. While he speaks in a language kids will relate to, he also clearly remains the adult, empathizing with middle schoolers while helping them to understand themselves and those around them.
Cons: I was expecting a quick read, with lots of side bars and comics; instead this is pretty text-heavy, which may not appeal to the intended audience.