Category Archives: How I Survived Middle School

January 11, 2011

Middle School Survival Scavenger Hunt

Mss_130 Middle School Survival Scavenger Hunt

Aah, middle school. For me, the memories blend together. I got glasses and braces in the same year (6th grade was cruel!), drifted in and out of cliques, awkwardly stumbled through school dances and crushes, and didn’t make the cheerleading squad. I’m still convinced it was rigged! The coach’s daughter and her friends were all on the squad. . . hmm.

Anyhow, I’m completely over it now, as you can see. And sometimes the best way to make it through the drama is to laugh about it! That’s what the Middle School Survival series by Nancy Krulik does. If you’re not already familiar with these books, check ‘em out. The main character, Jenny, struggles through BFF betrayals, secret admirers, pep squads, snow days, rumors, summer camp, and of course … embarrassing moments.

So test your (middle school) survival smarts in this Scavenger Hunt below. You’ll find the answers by searching around the different sections on the Middle School Survival site. See how many answers you can get. But don’t worry, it’s not graded!

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November 19, 2009

STACKS Kids Chat: Nancy Krulik, Author of How I Survived Middle School


_Stacks_Admin_: Hi, everyone! Welcome to today’s chat! We’ll get started in about 10 minutes.
_Sonja_Stacks_Staffer_: Hi! Welcome everybody. I changed my avatar’s hair for the chat!
_bluecookiedough_: hihi
_Tonks Lupin_: Im rlly exicted!!
_Tonks Lupin_: its nice hair though!
_Bluetwig101_: hi
_Tonks Lupin_: Ello
_bluecookiedough_: cool hair/face colors
_Tonks Lupin_: i know it is awesome sonja
_Bluetwig101_: i’m so excited
_Sonja_Stacks_Staffer_: Aww. Thanks guys! Continue reading
November 17, 2009

LIVE CHAT with Author Nancy Krulik!

STACKS Live Chat October announcement: Get Goosebumps Halloween chat on October 27th

Nancy Krulik, the author of the How I Survived Middle School series will be joining us in our November Live Chat. Here is your chance to ask her all your burning questions about the series, about middle school, and about what it’s like to be a real live published author! (Believe me, she knows. She’s written more than 150 books!)

WHEN: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 6-7 p.m. (ET)
TOPIC: Chat with author Nancy Krulik!

To find out more about Nancy and read her books before the chat, visit the How I Survived Middle School website. There are also some very fun games and quizzes there. Hope to see you at the chat!

UPDATE: 11/20 — Thanks for joining the chat. In case you missed it, or want to relive the memories, here is the transcript! Please come join us on December 5 for the next Live Chat.

November 12, 2009

My Favorite Fictional School Dances

School_dances_130 My first official school dance was the 5th grade Square Dance. (Yes, you read that right. No, I'm not from a farming community.) For weeks in advance, we learned some two-steps during gym class and shyly practiced do-si-do-ing during recess. On the big night, clad in denim skirts, my friends and I French-braided our hair and reapplied our lip gloss in the girls’ bathroom before we braved the dance floor. Despite our nerves, the dance turned out to be pretty awesome. There were specific steps to follow and partners to choose, so everyone felt the same level of moderate humiliation and immense relief. We were in it together.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, school dances are part of life. And whether you’re Team Yay or Team Nay (or Team I’m-Way-Too-Busy-With-Homework-and-Sports-To-Care-About-School-Dances-Anyway), lots of books feature them, and it’s fun to compare the reality versus what authors dream up!

For instance, my Square Dance simply cannot compare to the awesomely magical Yule Ball that Harry Potter and friends get to attend in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (Come to think of it, not even my fancy senior prom could compare to the show that Hogwarts puts on!) But there are less elaborate, though equally exciting, school dances found in other books, like the Halloween dance that the Baby-sitter’s Club members get to dress up for in Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, or the annual winter dance Addie and friends attend in Wish Upon a Star (How I Survived Middle School #11).

So what do you all think about school dances — love 'em or hate 'em? And have you ever read about a fictional school dance you wish you could attend?

— Morgan, Scholastic staffer

September 30, 2009

Face-Off: Candy Apple and How I Survived Middle School


This morning I tied a bright pink scarf around my neck to brace against the autumn weather that's (sort of) descended upon New York City. When I got to work and glanced at the towering stacks of books that are slowly taking over my office, I realized something: my scarf is the same exact shade of pink as the Candy Apple logo.

Fate? Maybe. I was, after all, about to write this very blog post about how much I love tween books like Life, Starring Me! and Accidentally Famous and, of course, the entire How I Survived Middle School (HISMS) series. And then as I took off my scarf (it's kind of warm in here in the mornings) I got to thinking, wow, the Candy Apple and HISMS books are similar in a lot of ways, with characters I can relate to, school problems I totally remember, and plot lines that make me stay up late reading. And THEN, readers, I decided to compare the two series in a one-on-one competition.

I've narrowed down the choices in this first ever face-off between these two favorite series. Take a look, and let me know in the comments which ones get your vote!

Funniest Title:


Candy Apple's Confessions of a Bitter Secret Santa

  HISMS #1: Can You Get an F in Lunch?

Most Eye-Catching Cover Art:


Candy Apple's Miss Popularity Goes Camping

  HISMS #9: Caught in the Web

Coolest Character:


Aubrey from Candy Apple's Making Waves

  Jenny McAfee from HISMS

Juiciest Plot Line:


Candy Apple's Callie for President

  HISMS #10: Into the Woods

Best Secret Identity:


Andie and Caitlin in Candy Apple's The Sister Switch   Madame X in HISMS #3: I Heard a Rumor

As for me, it's a toss-up. I can't decide! Luckily, there's enough intrigue, drama, hilarity and homework in all of them!

— Morgan, Scholastic staffer

June 7, 2009

Create Your Very Own Crush!

Createacrush_130 Isn't having a crush fun? Unfortunately, a good crush is not always available. I mean, what if you've known all the boys/girls in your class since you were in kindergarten? Then having one of them as your crush would be like having a crush on your brother or sister. Ew, gross!

Maybe this is the situation you are in — or perhaps you just don't have a crush at moment for some other reason. Want to make one up? Then you're in luck! How I Survived Middle School brings you the ultimate crush-making-machine! Now you can create your perfect crush by answering a few simple questions, get a picture and profile of him/her, and construct your ideal date.

Start Creating Your Crush!

Check out mine:

Let's see if Jenny McAfee can use this tool to ward off Addie and her fellow obnoxious friends. Now instead of Addie and her clan making fun of Jenny for having a silly little secret admirer, Jenny can come back at Addie and the other "pops" by showing off her oh-so-cute guy crush. Let's see Addie top that!

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer

June 1, 2009

OMG! That was sooo embarrassing!

Middleschoolsurvival_130 OMG! That was so embarrassing! I totally just tripped in front of my crush . . . how will I ever face him again?

Does this scenario sound familiar? I know I have certainly done stupid and embarrassing things in front of my friends, family or crushes. However after reading the top 3 most embarrassing stories voted on by YOU over at Middle School Survival’s Hall of Shame, you won’t think twice of making a slight fool out of yourself compares to what these girls went through.

Here are the Top 3 Most Embarrassing Stories of the Year voted on by YOU!

3rd place
Taylor, 6th grade writes in . . .
I was in gym and we were stretching. I was right next to this guy named
Hanson who is really hot. I was wearing really tight pants and I bent
over. I heard a tear and everyone stated giggling. OMG my pants ripped!

2nd place
Courtney, 6th grade writes in . . .
One day after swimming practice I went into the locker room and began
changing. Once I got my swimming suit off, BOYS came in, including my
crush! Turns out, I’m in the wrong locker room!

1st place

Leah, 7th grade writes in . . .
One day I was at the pool and had on an over sized bikini. I thought nothing would happen so I jumped in and noticed my bikini top was missing! I tried to put it back under the water but the lifeguard thought I was drowning and he jumped in and held me in front of everyone!

Yikes! And you thought your awkward moment or event was bad . . . at least it wasn’t as bad as our winners (or losers, depending on how you look at it). Even Jenny’s adventures in the How I Survived Middle School series don’t seem so bad compared to these!

I’ve had my fair share of humiliating moments, but after reading these stories, my situations are as innocent as a new born kitten.

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer

May 13, 2009

Now Casting: How I Survived Middle School

Posted by at 7:23 am in How I Survived Middle School | Permalink

Mss_130About a month ago on the Middle School Survival site in the Top Ten section, we asked you who should play Jenny and Addie in a movie based on the How I Survived Middle School series. The results were pretty unanimous, which was surprising:

Jenny Mcfee (Cast by YOU!)
Miley_130 #1 choice: Miley Cyrus

I agree — Miss Miley would be perfect for this role because not only does she look a little bit like Jenny, but she also deals with all the hardships one faces at school on a daily basis on her hit show, Hannah Montana.

Selina_gomez_130 #2 choice: Selena Gomez
Like Miley, Selena is constantly thinking of clever ways to deal with her school problems (on the Disney show Wizards of Waverly Place). Plus, she is also moving quickly up the celebrity ladder, so we'd better snag her while we have the chance.

View complete list of Jenny Mcfee considerations »

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May 4, 2009

Author Exclusive: Summer Greetings from Nancy Krulik

Posted by at 9:20 am in Authors, How I Survived Middle School | Permalink

Ssc_130 No More Pencils, But a Lot More Books!

I think summer may just be my favorite season. Sure, fall has its colorful leaves, winter has the holidays, and spring has gardens filled with flowers. But summer has it all–bright sunshine, green grass, sandy beaches, and best of all, no school!

All of my most memorable summers were spent at a sleep-a-way camp in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania. I loved, loved, loved camp! It was eight weeks (well, seven and a half weeks actually, but who’s counting?) of nonstop fun. My camp days were full of arts and crafts, pioneering, swimming, softball, campfires, canoeing, and reading.

Yes, you read right. Reading. I was lucky enough to go to a camp that had a library. The campers were always free to check out books to read at rest hour, or after lights-out with a flashlight (which I think is the absolute best way to read a really good ghost story). The best part about our camp library was that it was filled with books you might not find on your typical summer reading list. When you went to the camp library, it was considered okay to check out a collection of Peanuts comics, or a Judy Blume book you had already read 500 times before. One summer I remember tearing through at least five or six Nancy Drew mysteries. I felt a special kinship with that super-sleuth because we shared the same name, although to this day I am not exactly sure what kind of car a roadster is.

My old camp in the Poconos still exists. In fact, my own kids have gone there for years. And they assure me that there are a few How I Survived Middle School books in the camp library. It gives me a major thrill to think that on some really hot day, a camper will sign up for library as an activity (if only to enjoy the one air-conditioned spot on the whole campground), and pull one of my books down from the shelves. I guess I sort of figure that as long as my books are there, a part of me is still at summer camp, too.

But wherever you are this summer—at camp, at the shore, on safari, or at home—there is one place everybody can go to discover new books, connect with other kids, and take part in a reading competition: the Scholastic Summer Challenge, right here on THE STACKS! Once you join a team, all the time that you spend reading will be counted towards your team’s overall score, and at the end of the summer the team with the most points will help Scholastic decide where to donate books to kids in need! Plus, you’ll find games, quizzes, and behind-the-scenes tidbits about a different featured book or series each week (including How I Survived Middle School!). So head on over to the Summer Challenge to get started.

Happy summer reading everyone!

Nancy Krulik, author of the series How I Survived Middle School