Clarion Books

September 2002

$17.99  US

80p hc

ISBN: 978-0618152506

Swimming Upstream: middle school poems

Kristine O'Connell George

illustrated by Debbie Tilley

from the book...

Starting middle school can be confusing, exciting, or scary - or all three. Suddenly, everything is different. Lockers. Moving from class to class. Changing for PE. School dances. You have to make new friends, do homework and take tests, deal with gossip, and maybe even find out what happens when you like someone...and they like you back!


With honesty and humor, these resonant poems capture memorable moments of the school year as seen through the eyes of a new middle schooler. Poems in a variety of forms - ranging from haiku to free verse - are complimented by lively illustrations, making a perceptive, poignant record of an important transitional year.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A

What’s my locker number? Where’s my school map? What’s my next class? These are all things you dread thinking on your first day at high school. For the character in this book it is just the beginning. For the first week at high school this is what the character in Swimming Upstream goes through. Finally he makes new friends and catches up with old ones, things are looking good. Then he realises just how much homework he has to do. Will things get better for him or will his years at high school drag on unhappily forever? And what about this special someone?

I really enjoyed reading Swimming Upstream, written by Kristine O’Connell George and illustrated by Debbie Tilley, because it has given me a little insight into the world of high school before I actually experience it. I am only in Year 6 and I have no idea of what high school will be like and how it will feel having more than one class a day with many different teachers. Now that I have read Swimming Upstream I feel much more prepared and confident about my next four years of school. I recommend this verse novel to boys or girls in Year 6 and 7. I give this verse novel an 8/10.

Cassandra, Year 6, Canberra, Australia

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