“Sometimes my friends just stand there and watch. And sometimes they join in and pick on me, too.”
Emerson Elementary is a fictitious school filled with students who are trying to navigate the complicated social scene of the tween years. Each chapter of Hot Issues, Cool Choices features a boy or girl who presents a typical but troubling problem: Tara doesn’t want to sign the petition some of the girls are sending around, saying they won’t have anything to do with a new girl, but she’s worried about how they’ll react if she doesn’t. Nick would like to volunteer at an animal shelter but not if Louisa and Connor are doing it, too—he’ll “end up on the ‘loser’ list just like them.” And Nathan is so tired of being bullied for being short that he’s succumbed to peer pressure and started picking on a boy who is even smaller than him, even though he feels bad about it.
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