101 – Dork Diaries

The Dork Diaries series  are hilariously true to the daily dramas of middle school life. They have special appeal to readers who are just about to go into middle school, offering a tantalizing peek into the agonies of tween life.

Written by Rachel Renée Russell and illustrated by her daughter Nikki Russell, these stories are very popular with host Chloë and her school friends at the moment. Find out why Chloë loves these stories and what she thinks they have to offer readers from about age 8 and up.

Activity: Rewrite a Diary Entry

Choose one of your favorite entries from Nikki’s diary. Pay attention to the characters who are in the entry, and consider how that person may have viewed the incidents Nikki writes about. Then write your own diary entry from the point of view of one of the other characters. The point of view, motives, and feelings may be similar or very different.

89 – Rob Childs

Rob Childs, author of over 80 books mainly about kids playing sports, is my Leicestershire Children’s Writer for the month of August. He spent his career teaching schoolkids and running team sports, as well as writing books for children based on his thoughtful understanding of their lives and experiences.

Rob Childs spent one year training at The Dyslexia Institute, which helped him not only to understand how children with dyslexia learn (or don’t, if they aren’t getting the right instruction.) His experience informed his book Moving the Goalposts, which very accurately portrays the anxiety and struggle of being asked to read and write by teachers who don’t understand how difficult that is for Sam, a year seven student and star soccer player who struggles with dyslexia.

Whether or not young readers have dyslexia, they will be able to empathize with Sam’s worries. This is the strength of Rob Childs’ work; his writing engages students with very realistic concerns and experiences, and that can be a great encouragement to those who think reading isn’t for them, or that it’s impossible to do.