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Plus-Size Teen Learns to Celebrate Herself in This Entertainingly Funny Novel for the YA Audience

Updated on April 4, 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.

Getting to Know Yourself Along with Maisie

Entertaining and funny with a message for all teen girls
Entertaining and funny with a message for all teen girls | Source

Teen Growth and Learning to Love Your Body in Entertaining Novel

Jenna Guillaume's What I Like About Me is particularly appropriate for teen girls in our society now. Teen girls are bombarded by the media with images that they are supposed to look like. Magazines, movies, and the constant images on Instagram portray teen bodies that are thin and beautiful. This timely novel for the YA audience is both a fun read and one that has a powerful lesson for teen girls.

Maisie's English teacher has given an assignment for students to keep a journal about things they discover each day. Maisie has little interest in this assignment in that all she wants to do is learn to deal with learning about her body and the body of others in her circle of friends. Writing in her Discovery Journal is definitely at the bottom of her list of things that she wants to do.

Guillaume writes with humor as she tells of the life events that Maisie is experiencing while learning to actully like her plus-size body. She shops with friends and her sister. Maisie is learning self-confidence along the way as she is writing about discoveries in her journal. Maisie must do battle with the little voice in her head that screams that she is ugly and fat. Many teen girls will definitely relate to Maisie's problems. Guillaume also gives Maisie a boyfriend who loves her just as she is.

What I Like About Me is written authentically with conversations that Maisie has with friends as all teens do. The language is simple and the chapters are short for easy reading. Her novel is a positive read for teaching teen girls to learn to love their bodies and themselves as emerging adults.

What I Like About Me was published by Peachtree Publishing Company Inc. and is recommended for ages 12-16.

Bring Maisie Into the Classroom for an Entertaining Read and Some Life Lessons

Teachers who teach language arts for teens will want to add Jenna Guillaume's What I Like About Me to their classroom for a fun novel to read and some lessons for life. The subject is timeless and all teens will enjoy reading about characters that they can relate to.

*Assign What I Like About Me as an individual reading assignment. You might also like to read together aloud in a group reading session with a few chapters read together each day.

*Engage students in a class discussion about things that each student likes about themself. Divide the class into boys and girls. Have each group make their list and come together to share for the discussion. It will be enlightening to see the differences in what the boys like about themselves and what the girls like about themselves.

*Maisie keeps a Discovery Journal. Assign a creative writing assignment for students to keep a Discovery Journal. This assignment can travel through an entire semester or school year. Students might like to share some of the discoveries that they make about themselves throughout the school year.

*Engage students in an honest discussion about how they feel about plus-size friends or acquaintances. Is it difficult to be a plus-size teen?

*Assign a creative writing assignment for students to create their own character who is experiencing the life lesson of learning to love their own body.

*Maisie has a beautiful sister that she must learn to have a sibling relationship with while learning to accept her own qualities as a good person who does not have to look like her sister. Engage the students in a class discussion about their own sibling who they might have differences with.

*Guillaume's novel also contains family drama that all teens experience with their parents. Create a writing assignment for students to write about a family drama that they might experience with their own parents.

*Maisie also participates in a beauty pageant. Engage students in a discussion about how they feel about beauty pageants.

*Maisie discovers that it is better to face things than to run away. Assign a creative writing project for students to write about something that they have wanted to run away from but decided to face.

© 2020 Cindy Hewitt


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