GUEST WRITER REZVAN DEHGHANI RECOMMENDS SUNNY ROLLS THE DICE BY JENNIFER AND MATTHEW HOLM
Sunny Rolls the Dice is the third book of the bestselling Sunny Series written by the award-winning siblings, Jennifer and Matthew Holm.
This funny middle-grade graphic novel addresses, with a light touch, some of the difficulties students have transitioning into middle school.
For tweenagers, the transition to middle school usually holds a combination of nervousness, fear and doubt, but Sunny Rolls the Dice approaches the challenge in a really amusing way through its main character’s humorous stories. For Sunny, the main character, middle school becomes a complicated transition, especially in terms of her appearance and relationships. In fact, while she tries to imitate whatever her best friend, Deb, does (only to keep her friendship with Deb), she still wants to maintain her own sense of identity and independence by making new friends and playing cool games with her male classmates, even if those games are not so “girly”!
Sunny Rolls the Dice is set in the late 1970s, when Sunny, who is in the seventh grade, takes the “Are You a Groovy Teen?” quiz in Teen magazine and obtains the lowest score possible. Unlike her friends, Sunny still wears galoshes on rainy days, which is scored as an absolute zero based on the Groovy Meter. She also plays Dungeons & Dragons with a group of boys, which is not something that “cool” girls at her age do. So many times she gets confused by the variety of messages she receives from her friends and also teen magazines about how girls should look and act to be groovy. These messages lead her to avoiding playing the game she loves.
Initially, Sunny struggles to change her self-image based on her friends’ comments, but eventually she stops trying so hard to be measure up to her friends’ standards and chooses to be cool in her own way: by being her true self! What I adore about this story is that Sunny, in the end, chooses to do what she really enjoys and sticks to it regardless of whatever her friends’ negative feedback might be.
This book will be most popular with middle school students who are facing the dilemma of remaining true to themselves or acting and looking groovy enough to be accepted by their peers.
The main reason I highly recommend Sunny Rolls the Dice is because of Sunny’s decision to go her own way and not really care about what her friends’ reactions might be. The story also offers parents and teachers the opportunity to discuss the significant issue of popularity with middle school kids. The following questions have been suggested by some of the readers of this amazing graphic novel:
- Do you find it tough to make new friends while sticking to your own self-image
- What does it mean to be popular in middle school?
- What products do tween kids buy in order to seem more popular?
- Can middle school girls play “boyish” games like D&D and still be cool? And is being cool really that important?
Rezvan Dehghani, originally from Iran, is an EAL/ ESL instructor at Devon Middle School in Fredericton, NB.