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Dexter the Tough

Dexter the Tough

by Margaret Peterson Haddix Illustrated by Mark Elliott

I'm the new kid. I am tuf. This morning I beat up a kid.

Dexter hates his new school. He hates that his family moved across the country so his dad can get treatment for his cancer. To make matters worse, Dexter gets into a fight the first day of school.

It's only the first day of school for Dexter, but he's already mad at the principal, and the secretary, and the janitor, and the kids who laugh at him. When his teacher tells the class to write a story, Dexter writes about how tough he is — and how he's already gotten into a fight. Is any of Dexter's story true? Why was the other boy crying "before" Dexter hit him? And why would the other boy still want to be Dexter's friend?

Even Dexter doesn't know the answers to some of those questions. But as he deals with family problems, a persistent teacher, and a boy who's strangely interested in floor wax, he discovers many surprises hidden in his own tale.

This touching book explores issues of bullying, family, and friendship.

8, 9, 10
Interest Level
Grades 3 - 5
Grade Level Equivalent
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading
Book Type
Chapter Book
Number of Pages
Realistic Fiction

About the Author and Illustrator

Margaret Peterson Haddix Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many memorable novels for young readers. Her work has been honored with the International Reading Association Children’s Book Award, the American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults and Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers citations, and state readers’ choice lists in sixteen states.
Mark Elliott Mark Elliott has a BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts. He has illustrated a number of book covers.

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