As the countdown toward the first day of school continues, I offer “How to Be Cool in the Third Grade” by intermediate author Betsy Duffey.
Robbie is excited for the first day of school. Last year was awesome, but last year, he knew how to be cool. It was easy to figure out what was cool in second grade, but now he’s faced with a new challenge – what’s cool in third grade? It’s a whole new playing field now – the kids are older, the teacher is different, the trends have changed – how can he figure out what’s cool before he permanently brands himself as a nerd?
He looks at the new backpack his mother got for him. It’s navy, with his name in white letters on the back: Robbie. That would be the first thing to go – why couldn’t he go by Rob or Robert, or something that was a little less second-grade? He decides to make a list of all the things to change about himself, and his name was definitely on top.
His mother bought him some new shorts for school – not jeans. He just knows everyone will be wearing jeans but him, so he puts that on the list too. And now his mother wants to walk him to the bus stop – and that means she’ll want to kiss him goodbye, too! Another thing for the list – no kisses at the bus stop!
While finding a seat on the bus, he loses his balance and lands right in the lap of Bo Haney, the biggest, meanest kid in class. Bo immediately promises to make Robbie’s life miserable, and he does – but neither one of them could have planned on Robbie being made Bo’s reading tutor. Will this year end up the coolest ever, or will it be a disaster?
This book portrays the anxiety every child goes through when facing something new, and gives humorous hope that things will be okay.
(This book was published in 1993 by Viking.)