Middle School Diplomacy
Mya is a 12 year old destined to be a United Nations Ambassador, her 8 year old sister Nanda is not. When Mya’s mom has to go back to Myanmar to take care of Mya’s sick Grandmother, Mya goes through so many changes as every twelve year old does. She is desperate to have a cell phone, has to take care of her little sister, for free no less, and starts to feel a drift between herself and her best friend Cleo.
Mya’s Strategy to Save the World is a real coming of age story that so many middle graders will relate to. I love how Tanya Lloyd Kyi chose to tell Mya’s story not only through the first person narrative but also through emails sent to her mom and her best friend. Tanya Lloyd Kyi doesn’t shy away from any of the hairy moments of being a twelve year old. She examines how friendships evolve and change once crushes become a going concern. She treats the changes in our bodies in a matter of fact way, not shying away from the embarrassing moments in a young person‘s life.
There is the brilliant awkward moment between Mya and her dad when he thinks she has gotten her period and then there is the capturing of the anxiety and embarrassment of actually getting her period and the feeling of having no one to talk to about it with her Mom being so far away and unable to communicate. The other layer to this story is Mya’s activism. Being as she has big plans to be a UN Ambassador, not only is she practicing her skills of communication but she is also taking on some of the worlds most daunting issues such as refugee crisis and cobalt mining. Books that bring some of the world’s biggest issues to the forefront of conversation help to create the next generation of leaders who will be more aware and more active in remedying these world issues.
Tanya Lloyd Kyi has created such a relatable story including so many of the prevailing issues in a middle schoolers life: cell phones, puberty, friendships, and family relationships. Her writing is so honest and relatable and I’m so happy this book is available for all young people now. It’s an amazing mirror book and perfect for summer reading!