I recently had the opportunity to interview Annie and David Fox about turning books into native iPad apps. It was fascinating to learn how they're transforming the Middle School Confidential Series into custom apps, but I was so intrigued, I wanted to take a look at the original books in the series.
Annie Fox has contributed to many online projects, including as creator, designer, and writer for The InSite--a Web site for teens taking on life's challenges; and she also answers questions for the Hey Terra! feature as an online advisor for teens. Fox has said that Middle school issues come up a lot, so she decided to write a book about it and The Middle School Confidential series was born. The series follows six teens trying to figure out middle school, which is why the series is called "Middle School Confidential" because not everyone knows the things these teens have found out.
Be Confident in Who You Are (Middle School Confidential Series) (Bk. 1) is the first book in the series and introduces us to Jen, Jack, Michelle, Chris, Mateo and Abby--your average, normal teens who go to Milldale Middle School. Young readers are introduced to body beefs, something we'd all like to change about ourselves; how to deal with teasing; mental movies; losing control and much more. Be Confident in Who You Are will have young readers feeling as though they're hanging out with their friends, talking about some of the issues that affect them most and how to deal with them.
Real Friends vs. the Other Kind (Middle School Confidential) is book 2 and picks up right where Be Confident in Who You Are leaves off. In addition to dealing with body beefs and teasing, another problem in middle school is friendship. "There's nothing like being with friends. But if you're like us, you've probably wondered about some friendships. Maybe you're not sure if someone is a real friend or the 'other' kind." And that's exactly what this book confronts. Get tips for making friends, dealing with peer pressure, and handling friendship dilemmas. 'Because you and each of your friends are unique, there's no single 'right' way to have a great friendship.'
What's Up with My Family? (Middle School Confidential) is book 3 and tackles another problem in middle school--our families. Let's admit it, every family has issues and there's just something about families that can drive a middle schooler crazy. Will you ever be able to do things on your own, without your parents hovering? What is the secret to surviving family transitions like a move or a parent's job loss? Jen, Jack, Michelle, Chris, Mateo and Abby are back and deal with issues that can come up in any family, such as sibling conflicts, disagreements with parents and battles over home responsibilities.
What I really love about these books is how they blend graphic novel with nonfiction advice. Bottom line is that they're cool. The books are full of full-color illustrations, quotes from real teens, fun quizzes, and tips and insider tools for staying strong through the rough spots.Young readers will be able to relate to the teens in the book and will feel as though they're having a conversation with their friends. Entering middle school can be tough, which is why it's great to have a series like this that middle graders can turn to.
Reading level: Young Adult
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing; Book 3 edition (January 15, 2010)
Source of review copy: Publisher