Weird Rules to Follow

  • Pages:192
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:racism, lived experience, cultural differences, coastal town, prejudice
  • Available:10/18/2022
  • Lexile:730L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:Z
9781459835603 LICENSE OPTIONS

“Readers will be left with a rich image of Mia’s world and the family and people that surround her as well as a strong sense of how culture and class impact people’s experiences. A touching exploration of identity and culture.”—Kirkus Reviews

Mia knows her family is very different than her best friend's.

In the 1980s, the coastal fishing town of Prince Rupert is booming. There is plenty of sockeye salmon in the nearby ocean, which means the fishermen are happy and there is plenty of work at the cannery. Eleven-year-old Mia and her best friend, Lara, have known each other since kindergarten. Like most tweens, they like to hang out and compare notes on their crushes and dream about their futures. But even though they both live in the same cul-de-sac, Mia’s life is very different from her non-Indigenous, middle-class neighbor. Lara lives with her mom, her dad and her little brother in a big house, with two cars in the drive and a view of the ocean. Mia lives in a shabby wartime house that is full of relatives—her churchgoing grandmother, binge-drinking mother and a rotating number of aunts, uncles and cousins. Even though their differences never seemed to matter to the two friends, Mia begins to notice how adults treat her differently, just because she is Indigenous. Teachers, shopkeepers, even Lara’s parents—they all seem to have decided who Mia is without getting to know her first.

The epub edition of this title is fully accessible.

“Simply put, Kim Spencer’s Weird Rules to Follow is a gem of a novel. With sensitive yet sharply written prose, it beautifully inhabits the preteen world of Mia Douglas, which bubbles over with friends, family and adolescent confusion. The town of Prince Rupert and its inhabitants come alive, giving readers the perfect backdrop for Mia’s evolving understanding of her Indigenous identity and how she is perceived by others. Like Margaret Simon, Meg Murry and Starr Carter, Mia Douglas is a fictional star whom young readers will love.”
– Jen Sookfong Lee, author of The Conjoined
★“Readers will be left with a rich image of Mia’s world and the family and people that surround her as well as a strong sense of how culture and class impact people’s experiences. A touching exploration of identity and culture.”
– Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Like a photo album but in text rather than in pictures…providing the reader with a layered, nuanced picture of Mia’s life.”
– Booklist
“Easy to read but poetic and focused…This story, while fiction, rings true.”
– The Horn Book
“Heartfelt and moving…Recommended.”
– CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“This is one of the highlights for the last five years. I've read this a few times and each time I see more and more in it. I just think, isn't it wonderful that we have this author who has written a beautiful book — and has not followed the same pattern of every coming-of-age middle-grade book? She has written in her own style that I think is quite spectacular.”

– Ken Setterington, CBC's The Next Chapter, children's book panel
“Authentic and honest…Excellent for upper elementary and middle school students, either in a literature circle or independently.”
– Children's Literature
– School Library Connection
The National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award   | 2023  |  Winner
Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Jean Little First-Novel Award   | 2023  |  Winner
Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People   | 2023  |  Winner
Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award   | 2023  |  Winner
United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) Outstanding International Books List (OIB)   | 2023  |  Commended
BC and Yukon Book Prizes - Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize   | 2023  |  Short-listed
Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year   | 2023  |  Commended
Indigenous Voices Awards (IVA) - Published prose in English   | 2023  |  Short-listed
Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award   | 2024  |  Short-listed
Young Readers' Choice Book Awards of British Columbia (YRCABC) Red Cedar Book Awards   | 2024  |  Nominated
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens   | 2023  |  Commended
Chocolate Lily Book Awards   | 2023  |  Short-listed
The Governor General’s Literary Awards (GGBooks) - Young People’s Literature Text   | 2023  |  Nominated
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) Pacific Northwest Book Awards   | 2024  |  

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