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From the We the Weirdos series

by Charley Pickle

Pub Date: June 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5383-8208-0
Publisher: West 44 Books

A recent immigrant to the United States, Maci must find her place at a new school.

Twelve-year-old Mitsuko Masaki, now going by Maci because Mitsuko is “too hard for Americans to pronounce,” has recently moved to New York from Tokyo. All she wants to do is keep to herself and draw manga. After Maci refuses to do what her parents asked, they lay down the law: She isn’t allowed to sleep in her room until it is cleaned, and she must join the school orchestra. At school, Maci sits next to Amy, a white girl who introduces her to the comic club. During lunch, Maci usually sits, unnoticed, under the “weirdos” table, but Eli and Jayden, both boys of color, discover her and convince her to join the “above-table kids.” With new friends and the comic club, Maci begins to find her place at her new school. This short chapter book is one of a quartet about the weirdos. With themes of being the new kid, making friends, and finding where you fit in, it has an interest level for upper-elementary students, but the brevity, straightforward first-person voice, and occasional illustrations make it an easy read. Maci also works to find a balance between her Japanese culture and American culture, struggling to understand American phrases and to negotiate Japanese practices that now feel out of place, which will feel familiar to many kids in a new environment.

A nice, short, feel-good story about finding your place.

(Fiction. 7-12)