From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Your Child About Middle School

Keep an open line during this formative — but often challenging — chapter in children’s lives.

Aug 05, 2022



From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Your Child About Middle School

Aug 05, 2022

Middle school marks a transitional period in children’s lives that often means higher expectations and more social obligations.

In addition to increased academic pressures, children are developing their identities and dealing with the changes that accompany puberty. 

While there may be times you don’t know what’s going on in your child’s life, encouraging them to follow their heart provides a compass for when they need to navigate peer pressure or make tough decisions. Emphasizing your unconditional love also gives them a steady ship when storms arise.

Reading books filled with relatable characters and plots with your child reminds them that they’re not alone. Pouring over a book together strengthens your child’s reading skills and cements your bond with them, so they know they can open up to you about their frustrations and fears. (Here are more tips on how to bond as a family with reading.) 

For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of books, articles, and tips that make starting a conversation with your child about middle school easy, fun, and exciting. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created for Instagram to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.

Books About Middle School Life

In Keep it Together, Keiko Carter, 7th-grader Keiko is caught between her two best friends, Audrey and Jenna, as the longtime trio’s friendship takes a hit. Jenna is done bending to Audrey’s will and whims.

As her visions of marking teenage milestones with her besties begin to fade, Keiko must decide between helping her friends — which could mean losing one — and following her heart. It’s a big story of the personal investment so many children have in middle school life.

Meanwhile, sixth grade is shaping up to be the best year ever for Lucy Wu, the aspiring basketball player and interior designer at the center of  The Great Wall of Lucy Wu. She’s got plans to try out for captain of the school basketball team and take over the bedroom she’s always shared with her sister. 

But Lucy’s plans are dashed when she hears that Yi Po, her grandmother's sister, is coming to visit for several months — and will be staying in Lucy's room. What follows is a year of ups and downs, including a disastrous birthday, a bullying episode on the basketball team, and Chinese school with the annoying snob Talent Chang. But Lucy will find the silver lining in these clouds!

Articles About Middle School Life

Middle School Health: How Parents Can Help Kids Make Better Choices” in Scholastic Choices magazine offers tips for parents and students who seek help with common middle-school challenges. Focus areas include sleep and time management; friend drama and social changes; body changes and healthy choices; and stress and overscheduling.

Meanwhile, a work of fiction — “No Carnations for Ray Fink” — in Scholastic Storyworks magazine reminds us that while some kids may be lonely and have trouble making friends, they are not lacking in observations of the world around them. Through 6th grader Ray Fink’s benevolent eyes, friendships are possible and everyone can take steps to maintain them. 

Visit the Scholastic Bookshelf Instagram for more resources on beginning middle school and other topics. If you’re planning to talk with your child about other complex topics and seek tips or book recommendations, we invite you to visit our Tough Topics hub. You’ll find a wealth of advice from Scholastic editors to help you navigate challenging conversations thoughtfully. Recent topic additions include:

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