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Middle School Friendships Can Begin in Any Situation, Even With a Bowling Shoe in New YA Book From Donna Gephart

Updated on October 12, 2018
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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.

Everyone Can Use a Friend in Middle School

Great read for students in middle school who experience ways to find friends
Great read for students in middle school who experience ways to find friends | Source

Friends Can Appear in a Variety of Situations

Donna Gephart's new novel In Your Shoes is a timely read for students in middle school who need ways to find friends. Friends can appear in all kinds of situations. Students in middle school often have the need for friends and do not know how to make a friend. Gephart writes with humor and readers will enjoy the friendship that comes to Miles and Amy in an unexpected way.

Miles loves the bowling alley that his family owns. He spends many hours there and bowling is his passion. He sometimes experiences anxiety in school situations and doesn't really know how to make friends. Bowling solves his problem of having to interact with his peers. Amy is the new girl at Buckingham Middle School and is anxious to make a place for herself at her new school. Her mom's death makes life hard. Amy likes to write stories and writing helps her deal with life. Amy passes the bowling alley one day and decides to go in. She encounters Miles and he is surprised to discover that Amy has survived the hit from his bowling shoe that had been thrown from the roof in a hilarious accident when Amy was on her way to school one morning. Amy is unsure that she wants to be friends with Miles, but she is drawn to him and believes that she might as well give it a try. They have life losses in common. A friendship is created and adventures follow.

Gephart's In Your Shoes contains a story within a story with Amy's love of writing. Amy creates her character Fiona and uses her love of writing to teach a lesson of unexpected friendships. In Your Shoes is a feel-good read for students in middle school who are searching for meaningful friendships.

In Your Shoes was published by Delacorte Press, a division of Random House Children's Books. It is recommended for ages 9-12 and has an ISBN of 978-1-5247-1375-1.

Classroom Use for Middle School Readers

Teachers and librarians in middle schools will want to add Gephart's In Your Shoes to their collection of chapter books. Gephart is an award-winning author and fans will enjoy her newest creative novel for ages 9-12.

*Chapter books are popular with middle school English and reading teachers. Middle school students enjoy reading aloud during a group reading session and teachers often take the opportunity to read a few chapters each day in a chosen book. Chapter books offer the opportunity for students to develop skills in reading aloud and will want to share in the reading sessions. Reading chapter books together also improve memory for story details as students progress through the story.

*In Your Shoes can also be assigned as a book for students to read on their own in preparing a book report for an English class.

*Assign a writing project in which students can write about their own difficulties in finding friends when they enter middle school or are a new student in a school. Brainstorm in a group writing lesson for ideas that students can use to form friendships in middle school.

*Assign a drawing project for students to illustrate In Your Shoes. Students have the opportunity to illustrate the book with pictures that they create. Presentations of the drawings can be made along with a book report.

*Students might like to do an author study after reading In Your Shoes. Read other books by Gephart to include in a creative writing assignment for an author study.

*Make displays of creative illustrations from students' drawings that illustrate the friendship between Amy and Miles and celebrate a Friendship Day with snacks after reading In Your Shoes.

*Gephart's Amy likes fairy tales and Cinderella is one of her favorites. Brainstorm with students to get their thoughts about favorite fairy tales.

*Use Amy's story about Fiona to develop a creative writing project for your students.

*Gephart includes a glossary of writing and story terms that teachers who teach English in middle schools will want to use in lessons. Call attention to these terms when teaching your students to be good writers.

*Gephart also includes a glossary of bowling terms. Students might like to take a field trip to a local bowling alley in their community after reading In Your Shoes.

Collection of books by Donna Gephart

Have you explored the creative books by Donna Gephart for your middle school readers?

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© 2018 Cindy Hewitt


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