Ms. Beatrice Hempel, teacher of seventh grade, is new - new to teaching, new to the school, newly engaged, and newly bereft of her devoted father. Overwhelmed by her newness, she struggles to figure out what is expected of her in life and at work. Is it acceptable to introduce swear words in to the English curriculum, enlist students to write their own report cards, or bring up personal experiences while teaching a sex-education class?Sarah Shun-lien Bynum finds characters at their most vulnerable, then explores those precarious moments in sharp, graceful prose. From this most innovative of young writers comes another journey down the rabbit hole to the wonderland of middle school, memory, daydreaming, and the extraordinary business of growing up.More
"Bynum's second novel provides a narrative voice as unique and engaging as that in her award-winning debut, Madeleine Is Sleeping." (Booklist)
"Bynum writes with great acuity, and the emotional undercurrents in this sharp take on coming-of-age and growing up will move readers in unexpected ways." (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)
"Such a beautiful book is Ms. Hempel Chronicles, the kind that gives its reader profound insights into ordinary, everyday life. . . . [D]eeply affecting." (Los Angeles Times)
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