From Teaching Middle Schoolers to Writing For Them (Plus a Special Giveaway)

I started teaching fifth grade back in 1992. (Oh sheesh, that was a long time ago. Richard Marx and Bryan Adams were popular. What were you thinking, 1992?)

Anyway. After lunch each day, I would read out loud to my students and their most common request was for me to read a funny book. At the time, they were hard to come by. So I ended up reading SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL over and over and over. They couldn’t get enough!

That was when I decided to take my childhood dream of writing and turn it into something REAL. I decided to write funny books for middle schoolers. It took many years for that dream to be realized, but I am so grateful that I get to do this thing I love. I pinch myself daily.

While I was teaching, I tried hard to get my students to not just read, but to ENJOY reading. So I had my own library of books in my classroom with books I thought they would adore. In order to do this, I would spend many weekends at the Oxford Bookstore in Atlanta, hunting for my favorites.

I still have many of those books. See some familiar titles?

I spent lots of money to keep my bookshelf full. So that’s why I’d like to give one of my books from THE CLASSROOM series to a teacher building a library. If you are a teacher–or if you know of a teacher who would love to have a copy–then leave me a comment. Let me know your grade level and if you’d like book 1 or book 2 (or both). I will select three winners!!!

Thank you to all the teachers who give our kids the most important gift: the love of reading.


  • Valerie Burleigh

    It’s so uplifting to know that authors that were teachers support what it takes to keep those bookshelves full with books that are relevant!!! Thanks!!!

  • Christine DH

    One of the best rewards I get as a teacher is having my students gush over a new book or character they have fallen in love with. I teach students from as low as grade 4 all the way to university. My classroom library is full of books from my personal library because I love sharing books that I’ve enjoyed myself. I don’t have either of the books in THE CLASSROOM series, so I’d love to win either or both! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Gaby

    I would love to donate one to my local library :)

  • Jason Kline

    I teach 4th and 5th grade and would love a copy of both but would be ecstatic to have a copy of either one. I’ll say book one.

  • Denise

    I run an organization that encourages kids to read; we give them new books and also have a lending library as well as a resource library for caretakers. The kids have a parent in jail, so we realize that their education may no longer be a priority at home. I’d be forever grateful if you chose to donate a book to Isabelle’s Book Club, but certainly understand if you don’t as I’m not a classroom teacher. Thanks for your generosity and shared love of reading.

  • Jenny

    Yes, I relate so much to your post. I’m constantly working with my students to help find books they enjoy reading. Your first book was a big hit with a student of mine who has a difficult time finding books to read. I would love to win each of your books. (Unfortunately your first book was checked out and hasn’t been returned.)

  • About Robin

    The first book in my middle grade series, THE CLASSROOM: The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet Epic Kid, is now available from Disney-Hyperion. It's a mockumentary of life in seventh grade...oh, the awkwardness.

    And my teen novel, DITCHED: A Love Story, is about a 16-year old girl who has one of those nights she'll always remember (and a prom she wants to forget). Check out the Teen Books section for an excerpt!

    Find me on Instagram!


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