Ms. Ila’s Middle Grade Reading Club: Just Jaime (Emmie & Friends) by Terri Libenson

This month's book is a type of genre called a graphic novel.  Part of the popular Emmie & Friends series, our book is called Just Jamie by Terri Libenson.

Jamie and Maya have been best friends since kindergarten.  They are the background "Gossip Girls" in Terri Libenson's first book of the series, Invisible Emmie.

Their friendship is defined by the fast and furious chats that they have, to the exclusion of all else!  As they grow older, their circle grows to include another friend, Grace.

All continues as it has since kindergarten until a new friend joins their friend group: Celia.  Celia is a "mean girl."  According to Jennifer Graham in "MEAN girls" Cosmo Girl, Apr2004, Vol. 6, Issue 3, a mean girl is someone who has "a gift for coming up with the meanest possible thing to say in any situation."  Do you know anyone who is like Celia?


Friendships can be long, like Jaime and Maya's.  Friendships can change over time.  Friendships can become larger, when other people join the group.  Friendships can be fun and vibrant.

Friendships should never make us feel bad about ourselves, which is what Jaime was experiencing, after Celia joins the friendship group.

According to, true friends:

  • Want you to be happy
  • Care what you have to say
  • Encourage and support you
  • Accept you for who you are
  • Are happy for you when you do well
  • Apologize when they make a mistake
  • Give you advice in a caring way
  • Keep personal things between the two of you
  • Don't pressure you to do things that make you feel uncomfortable

In Just Jaime, Jaime has found that none of these things seem to be true anymore.  This is devastating for her, as her friendship with Maya defines a big part of life!

What Can You Do When Your Friendship is Changing?

In addition to identifying whether your friends are true friends, you can read the following tips in

All four topics are covered in Just Jaime.

Told from both Jaime's and Maya's point of view, we learn that Maya is experiencing pressure from Celia, Jaime is coping with clique behavior, and both are wondering if they should end their friendship.

In addition, both end up in a fight after a volleyball match gone wrong.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to step back and let your friend(s) discover the truth about mean girls themselves.

Some Questions to Consider

  • Do you agree with what a true friend should be?  Make a list and see if there are things you would add or subtract from the list.
  • Have you ever been in a situation where your friends are not telling you things?  What did you do about it?
  • Has a friend ever pressured you to do something that you feel is not right?
  • When you are pressured, do you follow your friend or do you listen to what your instinct tells you to do?
  • Are you in a clique?  If so, do you make sure that you treat others kindly?
  • What do you do when you fight with a friend?
  • Have you ever felt like ending a friendship?

Next month is October and it is time to read some scary stories!  We'll read The Monster Who Wasn't by T.C. Shelley.