Huge thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for sharing a copy of The Way to Bea with our #bookexcursion group! #bookexcursion is a team of ten educators who read and share new children’s and middle-grade titles. For more of my #bookexcursion reviews, click here!
Sometimes, you pick up a book, and it speaks to those moments that are so universal for kids. The Way to Bea is one of those books. When Beatrix Lee gets back from the best summer of her life, her best friend seems to have moved on without her. When her feelings are too painful to speak about, she writes about them instead. Turning to poetry, she voices her inner thoughts and hides them away in a secret spot in the woods. When someone starts writing back, Bea wonders if she has a new friend – and wonders how she can convince them to stay.
Kat Yeh has created a beautiful main character in Bea, but the book is filled with a loveable, creative, and compassionate cast. Bea’s dad is a clever comic book creator, and her mom is an incredible artist. Mrs. Rodriguez, the school librarian, always has funky sneakers on her feet and the perfect book in her hand. Briggs, the fedora-wearing editor of the school newspaper, is kind, clever, and charming. Will, who is obsessed with labyrinths, helps Bea find a way out of her friendship maze. I fell in love with this amazing crew, and so will middle-grade readers.
With a page-turning plot, an incredible cast, and gorgeous storytelling, middle school readers will love this one!
Classroom Connections: Suggestions for Middle School Classrooms
- Kat Yeh brilliantly centers moments around songs in this book. Bea will describe the song that’s playing during a certain scene, and at the back of the book, there’s a list of the songs for each scene. As a creative writing exercise, have students listen to a song and write a fictional scene to go along with it.
- This book touches on the history of labyrinths. Have students read informational texts on the history of labyrinths as they read this fiction text. They will find many connections to the information Bea and Will share!
- Bea writes gorgeous poetry in both free verse and haiku. Her poetry touches on themes of friendship, belonging, identity, and more. Have students craft their own poems on these themes during a poetry unit.