Happy book birthday to Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee - the book is out TODAY so you better get your copy! Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network and Simon Kids for the review copy of this book - all opinions are my own.
With the #metoo movement pushing sexual harassment and consent into the spotlight, this book is the perfect way to introduce the topic to middle grade students. Mila is dealing with unwanted physical contact at school - behaviors her teachers brush off as "teasing" and her friends write off as "flirting". But Mila doesn't like it, and when she asks the boys to stop, they don't. She doesn't feel comfortable going to the male principal or male guidance counselor, who coaches all these boys on the basketball team. Since no one else will shield her from this harassment, Mila changes how she dresses and tries to never be alone in the hallways. The abuse continues, and Mila's other relationships suffer as a result. She doesn't know how to stop the harassment, but knows she can't take much more. Who can help? Who can she trust?
This book is too real, and sadly I'm sure every tween (and adult...) reading it will have had experiences similar to Mila's. The subject is wonderfully handled, with a practical resolution that will definitely stick in my mind in case I ever need to use it. I think this would be a great book club book for girls in 4th-8th grades, to give them a safe space to talk about things that have happened or might happen to them and an opportunity to understand what they should do about it.