Planet Middle School
Find it at your library or you can ...
Nikki Grimes
author, Nikki Grimes
author's website
Bloomsbury USA
New York City
For twelve years, Joylin Johnson's life has been just fine, thank you very much. A game of basketball with the boys—especially her friend Jake—was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, T-shirt, and hair in a ponytail were easy choices. Then suddenly the world seemed to turn upside down, and everything changed at once. Her best girl friend is now flirting with her best guy friend. Her clothes seem all wrong. Jake is acting weird, and basketball isn't the same. And worst of all, there is this guy, Santiago, who appears from … where? What lengths will Joy go to—and whom will she become—to attract his attention?

In short poems that perfectly capture the crazy feelings of adolescence and first crushes, award-winning author Nikki Grimes has crafted a delightful, often hilarious, hearttugging story.

1.   Have you played a sport because you love the game? What parts of the sport made you feel good about yourself? What parts were challenging for you?
2.   Do you have friends who are into one or more sports? Is that a part of your friendship? How do you feel when one of your friends does something well in that sport?
3.   In the poem "Tom Boy," Joylin asks "how come there's no Jane Girl?" Have you ever called someone a tomboy ... or maybe you've been called one yourself? What does "tomboy" mean? Why do you think Joylin was called that? And how does it make her (and you) feel?
4.   Have you had a friendship tested the way Joylin's friendship with Jake was tested? How did that happen? And how did you get past it ... or did you?
5.   Joylin's life is changing. She is "growing up." What does that mean to you? What's the difference between being a child and being an adult?
When your child has finished reading Planet Middle School, be sure to check off this book on your booklist, moving towards reading 12 books or 18 books this summer. You can register for a mile marker, our random drawing for several levels of giveaways.
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