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Immigration and Challenges to Fit In With Seventh-Grade Peers in Debut Novel by Erin Yun

Updated on February 12, 2020
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

A Young Immigrant Girl Faces All the Challenges of Seventh Grade

Sweet story of an immigrant girl with all the challenges of seventh grade that her American peers face
Sweet story of an immigrant girl with all the challenges of seventh grade that her American peers face | Source

A Young Immigrant Girl Faces the Challenges of Seventh Grade

Erin Yun's Pippa Park Raises Her Game is a charming story of a young Korean immigrant girl who faces all of the typical challenges of a seventh-grader . She just wants to fit in when she is awarded a basketball scholarship to a prestigious private school She sees this new adventure as a chance to reinvent herself. She wants to hide her parents' laundrymat business from her new friends at this elite school. Young readers will relate to this problem that many face if they have a family secret that they want to keep secret. Social media today is not always kind and Pippa discovers that she may not be able to hide the things that she wishes to keep private. She also wants to keep her old friends away from her new friends in order to fit in with this new elite crowd. She hopes that she will be successful in her quest to reinvent herself with all of the new friends.

Pippa soon begins receiving a series of mean messages through social media. Young readers will certainly relate to this in that bullying through social media is prevalent in our schools today. Pippa now wonders if she can keep her newly invented "new self" and be successful as her new persona. She now faces the idea that she may not be the "cool" girl that she wants to be. She must have tutoring in order to maintain her grades at the new school. She also needs to be able to stay on the basketball team. These issues are a huge challenge for Pippa. Pippa is exposed in an article about where she attended school before she received the scholarship to Lakeview Private School. She now senses that she really is doomed.

Pippa manages to hang on and the big game comes. Young readers will find this to be a page turner as they read to the end to find out how Pippa successfully makes a place for herself at the private school and finds seventh-grade to be a good place to be afterall.

Pippa Park Raises her Game was published by Fabled Films Press and is recommended for ages 10-12. It has an ISBN of 978-1944020-26-2.

Teachers will want to add this selection to their classroom library.

Bring Pippa Into the Classroom for Fun and Creative Reading and Writing Activities

Teachers who teach language arts and reading for seventh-graders will want to add Pippa Park Raises Her Game to their classroom library. Pippa is a character that many students will be able to relate to with her experiences of bullying through social media, a new school environment, and the possibility of having to hide a family secret in order to fit in with peers. Chapter books such as this one offer many opportunities to engage students of this age group in relevant discussions about what is happening in their own lives. Characters like Pippa are popular with young readers because students enjoy reading about characters who are similar to themselves.

*Assign Pippa Raises Her Game as a part of your reading curriculum. It can also be read together as a class when reading a chapter or two aloud each day during a reading session. Students enjoy reading aloud together and chapter books are popular with students.

*Take a poll of your school to discover how many immigrants are in the school and community. Are there any Korean families in your community?

*Engage students in a conversation about the immigrant students in their school. How are these students made to feel and is there evidence of bullying in the school?

*Assign a creative writing activity for students to write about a time when they might have been bullied. How is bullying through social media handled in your school?

*How does Pippa become successful in being able to fit in with her new school and friends? Assign a creative writing activity for students to write about their feelings in how Pippa handles her challenges in seventh grade. Do they think she handled her new opportunity well?

© 2020 Cindy Hewitt

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