January 10, 2012

Class of 2K12 Guest Post: Caroline Starr Rose

A long while back I was approached by Caroline Starr Rose to help promote the fantastic group of authors in the Class of 2k12.  These are a group of authors being published in 2012.  I jumped at the chance to help out.  
What we came up with was a series of guest posts.  The topic: 
 Since I teach 7th grade I live and breath middle school (ok some of you can stop shuddering now). 

So over the course of 2012 you will get to hear from some the the 2k12 authors and their memories/thoughts about that time in their life.  I thank each of them for jumping in a tackling the subject!
To learn about all the 2k12 authors check out their site: Class of 2k12: Fiction that Rocks

Today our 2k12-er is:
 Caroline Starr Rose

Her book: May B.
Release Date: January 10 (today!)
I've known it since last night:It's been too long to expect them to return. Something's happened. 
May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.

Her Thoughts/Memories of Middle School 

Today I got a phone call from a teacher at my former middle school, asking me to come talk with her students about my book. I spent seven years teaching middle school kids and have a soft spot for them, but talking to middle schoolers at my old school? The idea seems wildly crazy and stirs up all sorts of weird emotions. 

The thing about middle school is it’s really the first place a kid experiments with who they are and who they want to be. For the first time, you become aware that other people notice you (at least it was that way for me). I remember starting sixth grade in my super cool outfit -- cropped yellow pants, yellow blazer, and hot pink shirt, all three covered with numbers. A friend of my took one look at me and said, “I never knew you dressed like that.” I wasn’t sure what she meant (I’m still not sure!), but it was enough for me to realize that people tuned in to what I looked like and responded in some way. (Incidentally, that year for Halloween I was a Go Go and wore the same outfit. At every door a friend and I sang, “We’ve got the trick, you’ve got the treat, yeah, trick or treat!”).

Middle school was about studying the cool kids as they circled the halls before school began. It included slumber parties and toilet papering (almost always our mothers drove us), watching the movies La Bamba and Stand By Me (the first rated R movie I was ever allowed to see), and passing spirals filled with notes back and forth with friends. It meant big bangs (my Spanish teacher named my hairdo “the wave”), pearly pink lips, and contact lenses.

I played in my doll house until I was thirteen (though I would have never admitted this at school), danced ballet religiously, and read some books I still count as favorites: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, A SEPARATE PEACE, and GONE WITH THE WIND, which I read the summer before sixth grade and the summer after eighth.

Middle school is where the now and the not yet intersect, where childhood first flirts with adulthood. Returning to my school has stirred up some of my insecurities from those years, but it’s also reminded me of the fun it is to be a kid, to be figuring out the world on your own terms.

So here’s to middle school in all its messy glory!

Thank you so much Caroline for those great thoughts!  What an amazing reading list at 13!

If you want to know about Caroline and her book May B. you can find her in the following places:

And I really think you should check out the book trailer for May B.


  1. Thanks for sharing your memories Caroline. So excited for your debut. And to both of you, what a great way to promote debut authors.

  2. I am a tad older than you. Erm, maybe lots of tads, actually. But my oh my yes on what you said about middle school. My experience, as well. Even remember my first day outfit!

  3. Well, I'm a bit older too, and it was called Junior High! But I still remember the awkwardness.

    Love this line in particular: "Middle school is where the now and the not yet intersect, where childhood first flirts with adulthood."

    Great guest post, Caroline! Thanks, Jill, for letting us get to know and love her even more.

  4. And side note: Doesn't the author have a super cool name?

  5. Oooo - I LOVE the trailer :) I'm so excited for Caroline's book.