Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind, by Electric Eggplant, is a powerful tool to help tweens with the onslaught of issues they deal with on an every day basis. Annie Fox is not new to this topic and its paramount importance. What behaviors children learn during adolescence are vital to the adult they will become. Since teachers do so much of this type of social work in school now-a-days, this resource should be available to every teacher, counselor and administrator, who spend their days with kids aged 10 through high school. (Their target audience is 11-14 year olds.) The good news is that this publisher does have a print version of this graphic novel.
As teachers, we see that some parts of this app could be introduced at an even earlier age. The main idea in Real Friends vs. the Other Kind is friendship and many of the conflicts outlined can be prevalent with younger kids too. In this new release, the characters navigate the ins and outs of friendships, cliques, crushes, and more. “There’s expert information for readers on making friends, resolving disputes, and dealing with other aspects of the social scene—including gossip, exclusion, cyber-bullying, peer pressure, and being there for friends who need help.” The students that field tested this app were aged ten to sixteen. The sixteen-year old asked if she could be included, as she had loved the first, Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are. For the younger ones, we shared only certain chapters as we didn’t want to promote girls thinking about boyfriends and vice-versa. As the character from the comic says, “We’re too young for this boyfriend/girlfriend stuff.”
Two girls who spent time with this app are part of an iPad pilot program and are very familiar with the iPad and apps. They had never seen this app and they were mesmerized. Some of the comments I overheard were, “Really fun to read.” and “Makes you a better person.” They both voiced enthusiasm over the quiz and liked this feature, especially the difficulty of the questions. They paused often before selecting the appropriate answer. “Hard decisions!” they told me as they went on to the next chapter. I really don’t think you can experience the magnitude and power of this app without having an adolescent next to you. This is pertinent content that should be shared globally. It would be a great app to have available in other languages.
Here’s a sneak peak at the chapter titles and a slide show of “pages” from this wonderful app:
1. Real Friends
2. Friend Dilemmas
3. Should I or Shouldn’t I?
4. Worried About a Friend?
5. So-Called Friends
6. Let’s Go Out
7. Things Aren’t Working Out
8. Making New Friends
“There will be ups and downs in every friendship, but if you know how to BE the friend you want to HAVE… you’ll be a great friend to yourself and everyone else.”