School Stories

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Article in Juvenile Fiction and Setting categories.

Sahara Jones wants to be a writer. She is embarrassed by the time she spent in special education and having to repeat fifth grade. Because she is afraid of what others will think, Sahara hides her writing. Her new teacher Miss Pointy encourages everyone in the class to keep a journal. Miss Pointy keeps the fifth grade in line and encourages the students to think differently. The fifth grade class becomes a community in a way Sahara never experienced at school before. With the support of Miss Pointy and her classmates, Sahara just might be able to believe in herself.
Greg Kenton loved money, and he was good at earning it and saving it. One day near the end of fifth grade, Greg made a big discovery. All the kids at school carried quarters with them: quarters for ice cream and cookies in the cafeteria, quarters for sparkly pencils at the school store, quarters for the juice machine. When he multiplied all those quarters by all those kids, Greg realized just how much money could be made at school. Greg worked hard to start his own comic book business. As soon as it was up and running, Greg had competition. Maura Shaw, his rival from across the street, started selling a comic book of her own. Would there be enough quarters in school for both of them to make money? And more importantly, how long could the comic book business continue before the principal gets involved?
"Can I get back to you on that?" is Joey Pigza's answer for almost every question people ask him when he's wired. And Joey is wired a lot. The fact that his mom showed up in his life again after leaving Joey with his Grandma isn't helping. Joey tries hard to act normal. Part of his brain knows what he should and should not do, but the other part, the wired part, just can't sit still and do the right thing. Sometimes Joey's meds help him follow the rules, but other days things get away from him. Even though he's breaking the rules, the results are often hilarious. But if Joey keeps acting up, he's going to be sent to a special school. Can Joey figure out a way to keep himself under control?
Most schools are built with the classrooms side by side. Wayside School was built with all thirty classrooms stacked one on top of the other. This book tells thirty stories about the class on the thirtieth floor. We meet the teacher, Mrs. Gorf, and the second teacher, Mrs. Jewls (who replaces Mrs. Gorf after an unfortunate apple incident). Other chapters introduce students on the thirtieth floor, including Paul, who likes to pull pigtails, Maurecia, who likes ice cream, and Kathy, who doesn't like anyone, not even you. Each person has a story and each story is silly and well, a bit sideways. This is the first in a series of books about Wayside School.