Maxine is smart, quirky, and a bit of a misfit. One day, she receives a mysterious invitation to a meeting of the “Kooky Kids’ Club.”
Things are looking bright. It’s nice to finally have a real group of friends. Then Maxine’s teacher disappears.
Maxine doesn’t know what happened to her beloved teacher, or how she can help. But if anybody has the smarts to help Miss Thompson, it’s Maxine and the Kooky Kids’ Club…
This quirky chapter book is for the best kind of kids—the ones who are a little bit kooky!
Today marks my stop on the Digital Reads Blog Tour for The Kooky Kids’ Club by Robbie Yates. When Shalini first got in touch with me to offer me a spot on this tour, I was apprehensive because I’d never taken part in a blog tour before. However, after reading about the tour and the fun and quirky vibe Robbie and Shalini wanted it to have, I knew I needed to get involved and become an honorary member of the Kooky Kids’ Club myself. I read this book in one short sitting. You might say, India, it’s a children’s book, of course, you read it in one sitting. However, I find any book – short or long; easy or difficult – put-downable if it doesn’t pull me in. The Kooky Kids’ Club grabbed me by the shoulders and lurched me into a world of relatability and unconventionality. It took me all of a millisecond after reading it to open up Goodreads and award the book a massive five stars and I know I will return to this book again and again and read it to my children…when I have some, that is.
This is a story I wish I had had as my companion when I was around twelve or thirteen years old due to its honest and comforting depiction of school life. Yates tackles the major issues of school in a funny yet poignant way and shines a light on some of the worst practices school life nurtures. Maxine struggles to fit in at school; she doesn’t have the right look, the right attitude or even the right clothes:
she was tempted to grab plain white socks. After all, that was what everyone else was wearing to school these days. She held the boring white socks in her hands, but then gritted her teeth and grabbed the socks she had originally chosen. They had little brown owls embroidered on them and were her favourite pair. (11%)
I found this moment incredibly relatable. I remember my first few years at high school when all the popular girls were wearing make-up, Jane Norman handbags and matching River Island jackets. On the one hand, I wasn’t blessed with the money these girls had so I couldn’t afford to buy these items and, therefore, earn a place in their clan. However, there was a strong part of me that didn’t want to either – a part that Maxine clearly shares. Though she “felt a deep longing to be part of their group”, Maxine refuses to conform to the image that high school has created for her, opting to wear her favourite socks rather than the ‘cool’ yet plain white ones everyone else will be wearing (12%). This was a daily struggle for me as I am sure it was for many young people in school – both male and female – though it would be easier and perhaps more fun (at the time) to be part of the popular crew, why should we sacrifice our individuality in order to get there? I can appreciate and commend our differences and quirks now but, when you’re a child, this is something that is very difficult and scary to do. I almost found myself in tears when reading Aunt Izzie’s words to Maxine on the matter, she tells her:
Sooner or later…the world will see how bright and sparkly you are, Maxine. In the meantime, you might just have to wait for them to wake up. (10%)
These beautiful words were ones I heard from my mother constantly when I was attempting to navigate the trials and tribulations of high school popularity. I was never one of the cool kids, I was always the bookworm in the library, content losing myself in a good book or catching up on homework. My mum always told me that school was the problem and that when I got out I would discover who I really was and it would be those popular kids who would struggle as they would no longer be just that: popular. They needed me more than I needed them. Some children might not have parents or other role models to comfort them with this notion in their time of need and that is why I feel The Kooky Kids’ Club should be read by all children – popular and unpopular alike – so that we might be able to understand each other a little better but, at least, be comforted by the knowledge that things won’t always be this way.
I absolutely loved the idea of The Kooky Kids’ Club and how clever the children in it were to see the world for what it was at such a young age. The club is for “unique” and “quirky” kids who don’t really fit in, so that they might all be a little bit different together, spending their lunchtimes in the library teaching each other different skills. Again, this was something that I found very relatable as my little ‘uncool’ crew would spend every lunchtime in the library or the drama room being as silly and divergent as we wanted. Yates makes a very important point, however, when he writes about how, though you can be happy in your group of misfit friends, it is difficult to truly be yourself and break away from the norm in school. The Kooky Kids’ Club has a guidebook and the second rule noted within it is:
Be yourself. This one is not so easy. Some of us have spent our whole lives learning to hide who we are, because we’re square pegs in round holes. Getting out of that habit can take some time. Be patient with yourself.
Here, Yates hits the nail on the head. We spend so much time in school longing to be accepted that it can be difficult to stop and learn to be ourselves again for fear of ridicule or ostracisation. I love how he makes this clear and, though he encourages children to be individuals, he acknowledges the hardship in this.
If you hadn’t realised by now, I absolutely adored this book. It is one of the best and most relatable depictions of school life I have ever read and I urge every woman, man and child to experience it too by using these links:
I need to say a huge thank you to Robbie and Shalini for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour, I loved every second of it.
Have you read this book yet? Are you adding it to your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!