Research shows that more than half of all children are involved in bullying either as a perpetrator, victim, or both on at least one occasion. As parents, we have the power to help reduce bullying and improve self-esteem – that’s why How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston is one of Reading Kingdom’s recommended self-esteem books for kids. Melissa Gaynor from Sweet on Books explains why:
“What You Need to Know:
• Kacey Simon, the most popular girl in school, learns what life is like on the other side of the lunch table when she gets braces and glasses and quickly loses her star status.
• Mean girls and mild bullying are present in the story.
• The girls are interested in boys and talk about kissing and boy/girl parties.
• “How to Rock”, a television series loosely based on the book, aired on Nickelodeon in February, 2012.
• A sequel to the book, How to Rock Break-Ups and Make-Ups, was released on September 28, 2012
How to Rock Braces and Glasses takes a refreshing look at middle school popularity. An aspiring journalist, Kacey Simon has it all, including her own advice segment on the school TV station, a starring role in the school play, a tight circle of friends, and the interest of a cute boy. To top it off, she’s the most popular girl in the eighth grade. Overly confident, the only time that Kacey appears slightly vulnerable is when she thinks about her parents’ divorce. Kacey values popularity, prides herself on being honest, and is generally insensitive to other people’s feelings. Her version of honesty is often ruthless, and she even shares scathing comments with her closest friend, Molly. Kacey feels secure in her role as queen bee and has no idea just how precarious that position can be, until she suddenly finds herself with braces, glasses and an embarrassing lisp.
In a matter of two weeks, Kacey goes from cool to geek. She loses her role in the play, is mocked in a YouTube video and is snubbed by her closest friends. She’s in a downward spiral so when new boy, Zander, invites her to be lead singer of his band, she does something out of the ordinary. She says, yes! Zander, who doesn’t care what people think, is the complete opposite of Kacey, and he becomes a positive influence on her life. Despite the rewarding experience she has with Zander and the band, Kacey is still desperate to be popular again. She joins forces with Paige, a loser she had ditched back in fifth grade, and together, they plot to use Molly’s crush on Zander to help get Kacey back on top. With Zander and Paige in her life, Kacey learns a little something about friendship and a lot about herself. The question is, once she gets back her normal speaking voice, her role in the play and a kiss from Quinn, will she stick with her new friends or will she go back to her old clique and her old ways?
Kacey is a strong, confident, driven girl. She’s funny, clever and likable despite her tendency toward brutal honesty. Addressing readers in the first person, Kacey draws them in and takes them with her on her journey, as she realizes that she was “…ruthless, ignoring other people’s feelings for the sake of a laugh…” and as she figures out who Kacey Simon really is. The ambiguous ending will leave readers waiting impatiently for book two!”
“Within eight weeks of beginning the Reading Kingdom, Ben’s progress was enormous. Each day that we continue the programs, he improves. It has also boosted his self-esteem. “– Gail Weiner, parent