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Dork Diaries: Birthday Drama - Out Now!
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July 31, 2019

August Calendar – Hawaiian Party

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July 16, 2019

QUIRKY QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Okay guys, this time you have a REALLY FUN question to answer!

If you could create YOUR very own DREAM summer camp, what would it be called?Describe it in detail and give me a list of the fun activities that campers would participate in!

Here is MY answer:

My dream camp would be called, CAMP DIARY!

We’d spend most of the day writing in our diaries but we’d also have fun activities like painting, reading, drawing, swimming, baking cupcakes, zip lining, and hiking.

In the morning, we’d hang out in our cabin and write in our diaries. In the afternoon, we’d find a comfy spot to write in the woods or by the lake.  And, in the evening, we’d write in our diaries around a camp fire while roasting marshmallows.

My camp would be very relaxing and also FUN!

Now, tell me about YOUR dream camp in the comments section below!

July 11, 2019

WHEN YOU’RE MAD AT YOUR FRIEND AND SHE WON’T LEAVE YOU ALONE

Dear Nikki

My friend won’t leave me alone! She was my friend, but now she’s acting super mean. She blurted out my deepest, darkest secret ever. Now I don’t trust her.

During the school year, she cuts lunch lines to sit with me and wants to play with me at recess, but she blurts out all my secrets and acts like my mother. I don’t want to be friends with her anymore. Can you please help?

Sincerely, Frustrated Former Friend

Hi Frustrated Former Friend, I’m not going to sugarcoat it: it sounds like this girl is kind of clueless about what it means to be a good friend.

I mean, anyone who’s ever had a friend before knows it’s SO not cool to blab each other’s secrets (unless they only had an imaginary friend…imaginary friends never get mad when you tell their secrets since, well, you have to be real to feel!).

I totally get why you feel upset and don’t want to hang around her anymore. And I bet it’s even more annoying that she keeps trying to be your BFF, even though she’s acting more like a MacKenzie than a Chloe or a Zoey.

Still, there may be some explanation for why she did what she did.

I know, I know, it’s highly unlikely that she received an anonymous letter that reads, “Tell all of your BFF’s secrets, or you’ll never see your family again!” And anything that wasn’t as serious as that might seem like a super lame excuse to share your personal business.

But maybe it just slipped out and she feels really bad about it. Or maybe she didn’t realize it was a secret.

Or maybe she was actually trying to be a good friend. You mentioned she’s been acting like your mom, so that made me wonder if maybe the secret was something kind of dangerous, and she only told someone else because she was worried about you.

I’m not trying to convince you to save her a swing tomorrow at recess. (It’s probably not a good idea, anyway, since trying to save a swing is like calling dibs on the last two pieces of birthday cake…it can REALLY tick people off!)

I’m just saying that maybe it’s not as black and white as it seems. If I’m totally off base and you’re just completely over being her friend, then I say be honest with her, but try to be nice when you break it to her.

Telling other people’s secrets is TOTALLY wrong, so maybe she could use a lesson in doing things right!

You could say something like: “I can’t sit with you anymore because I don’t feel as comfortable around you since you told _________ my secret about ____________. Maybe I’ll get over it, but that could take time, and for now, I just need a little space.”

This way, it’s no secret: your friendship is on pause until you feel ready to press play!

What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Frustrated Former Friend?
July 8, 2019

Spotlight on… Naysa Modi!!!

Hey readers, I’m going to tell you about an elite competitor. This individual trains for several hours a day and competes on ESPN in front of a national audience.

I’m talking about 13-year-old Naysa Modi, an elite speller from Texas.
Yeah, I said speller! Didn’t know spelling was a sport? Well, maybe not a sport…but it’s definitely a competition that requires a ton of training, dedication, and guts. Spellers stand on a stage, alone at a microphone in front of a huge live audience (and broadcast on television), and get one chance to spell a super hard word aloud (no scratch paper!) before moving on to the next round. It’s super stressful!

Your school might have a spelling bee—maybe you’ve even participated. If you win, you usually go on to a county spelling bee with the winners of all the school spelling bees in your area. From there you might go on to state and regional competitions. But only the best of the best winners of those state and regional competitions go on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which comes on ESPN. It’s the Oscars/World Series/Olympics of spelling!

And Naysa Modi has been there FOUR TIMES! She went for the first time when she was only nine years old. She tied for 50th place. But she wasn’t discouraged—it was an amazing accomplishment just to be there. She came back the next year and tied for 46th place! Improvement! The next year she was back, and finished seventh, missing the semi-finals by one point. And then, last year in 2018, she was in the final round and came in second to a speller she had beaten in a regional competition.
The word she went out on? Bewusstseinslage. OMG!!! I can’t even pronounce that word—forget spelling it!!!

But here are some words she has spelled right in the competition: Beetewk, tchotchke, phthisiology, tabard, Weissnichtwo, schadenfreude, schottische and rejoneador. Naysa is officially a spelling QUEEN! 🙂

How does she stick with it and keep coming back? “It’s not just words,” she says. “It’s staying calm on stage, staying calm under pressure, managing time. It’s been really exhilarating.”

In addition to spelling, Naysa does tae-kwon-do and stand-up comedy, plays soccer, and wants to be a doctor. This year she’s in eighth grade, which is her last shot to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee! I know I’ll be tuning in to ESPN and rooting for her!!!

What’s something you’re really good at? Hey, it’s okay—you get to have full bragging rights and tell us about how AWESOME you are in the comments!
July 2, 2019

QUIRKY QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Happy

4th of July

everyone! 🙂

Today’s quirky question is all about your fourth of July plans. Which one do you enjoy most? Sitting in the dark watching FIREWORKS or running around in the dark with SPARKLERS?

Any special plans for your fourth of July holiday? Tell us all about them in the comments below!
June 30, 2019

July Calendar – Pool Fashion

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1 vertical page – 8½ x 11in
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Am I A Quitter?!

Hey Brandon,

I’ve been playing soccer FOREVER. My dad coached when I was little, and then I moved up into school teams. But lately, I just don’t enjoy it anymore. It lost its spark and I want to quit, but my parents are so proud of me doing it and it’s always been something I’ve shared with my dad especially. I don’t know how to tell them I want to quit. Help!

So Sick Of Soccer

What’s Up So Sick Of Soccer,

Oh, this is tough! I bet you have a ton of really great memories playing with your dad, and it sounds like your parents ARE super proud of you.

But, that doesn’t mean you have to play soccer forever. And quitting a team doesn’t mean you can’t decide to play again in the future, if you change your mind. Even if you don’t play for an organized team again, there are always pick-up games with dad. Or coaching your own kids’ team someday. I think your parents will understand this.

It makes sense that as we get older, our interests change. Or not even change, but get broader. You can still be interested in soccer but also have new interests (and more schoolwork!), so you might not want to spend all your energy on kicking a ball around anymore.

I think you should be honest. Tell them soccer has stopped being fun. Tell them if there are other things you’re interested in doing. Tell them you appreciate their support. Tell your dad how much it means to you to share your soccer love and that you don’t want to lose that. You can still watch games and talk about it from time to time.

Any team sport is a big commitment for the whole family, so your parents probably won’t want to spend as much time on it if you’re not really committed.

Look at it this way—if you keep playing because you’re afraid to let your parents down, you’re going to lose more than the spark. You’ll eventually hate the game and resent your parents. So, be honest with them. Take a step back. Maybe by next season you’ll be itching to play again. Maybe not. Either way, it’s okay.

Have you ever stopped an activity you’ve been doing for years? What activity would you rather be doing instead? Tell us in the comments.
June 25, 2019

MY CELL PHONE DRAMA!

When I came down to breakfast this morning, my parents were BOTH sitting there, looking upset.

“Nikki,” my mom said sternly. “We need to talk.”

I had NOT done anything wrong! I was sure of it! I slumped into a chair, hoping we could get this over with so I could get some breakfast because last night Mom made cheesy meat surprise and the surprise was that it’s SURPRISINGLY DISGUSTING. So, I was starving.

“Young lady,” Dad complained. “You know you’re not allowed to download apps that cost money without permission!”
I sat up straighter. “I didn’t!” And I hadn’t!

“Don’t lie to us, Nikki J Maxwell,” Mom exclaimed. She was clearly bad cop. “The credit card linked to your phone is for the regular bill and nothing more. And WE pay that bill. Which means we see whatever charges go on it.”

I was frantically trying to put the pieces together in my head. HAD I bought an app on my phone? Maybe without meaning to? I really didn’t think so. But they had the same faces they’d had that time I was in charge of cleaning up the living room before Grandma Maxwell came over, and then while she was here she opened the hall closet and got buried in an avalanche of everything I’d shoved in there.

“What did I b-buy?” I stammered.

Dad buried his head in his hands. “Nikki, if you don’t even remember, that’s a sign of a serious spending problem. You’re going to have to get a whole lot more responsible.”

“Or lose your phone privileges,” Mom added.

If I insisted I didn’t know what I’d bought, they’d just get madder.

“I promise I’m not trying to make excuses,” I muttered. “I’m just confused and I’m trying to be responsible. It is possible for accounts to get hacked, though. So before I get punished for something, I’d really like to know what I’m being punished for.”
Mom’s face went red. I thought she might explode. But Dad nodded.

“All right, that’s fair,” he said, pulling out what looked like a credit card statement. “Does any of this ring a bell? Glamify Makeover app, bonus points in the game, Sugar Bomb, a year-long membership in Teen Datez. With a Z. And extra dog treats in the Puppy Palace game!”

That’s when I KNEW something was up. Because I had been desperately wanting those extra dog treats to get to the next level in Puppy Palace, but I wasn’t allowed to make in-app purchases!

They would just get mad if I tried to make excuses, though. Because I had to admit: it looked bad. But I thought I had a decent idea what had happened.

“Brianna!”

“Nikki,” Mom huffed. “You can’t blame this one on Brianna. This is your phone and you are responsible for these charges.”

Brianna appeared, perky and oblivious.

“Hey Brianna! Remind me, how do you get the golden bone in Puppy Palace?” I asked her.

“Oh! Once you buy the extra dog treats, it’s easy! You just tug on the silver leash and they appear!”

I turned to look at my parents. Mom’s eyes had narrowed at Brianna. Dad hadn’t caught up yet.

“And how are you doing on Sugar Bomb?” I asked suspiciously.

“It took me forever to get to the top of Rock Candy Mountain, but with the extra…”

Brianna caught up to what was happening right before Dad did. Her eyes went wide and her mouth snapped shut.

“Brianna,” Dad questioned her. “Have you been making purchases on Nikki’s phone?”

“Forget the purchases! What are you doing even touching my phone?! And how did you get in?! It’s got a password!” I fumed.

Brianna snorted. “Oh please, it’s Brandon’s birthday.” Then her mouth snapped shut again.

“Okay, the games make sense,” Mom concluded. “Maybe the makeover thing. But the dating app?”

Brianna looked nervous and started squirming. Then she finally admitted, “I thought it was a game! I didn’t know it would be for dates with real boys! EWWW!!!”

And THAT is how I realized I needed to change the password on my phone! (And also how I got the golden bone in Puppy Palace!!!)

What are your favorite online games to play? Tell us in the comments below!
June 23, 2019

SHOULD I GIVE UP???

Dear Brandon, 

I really love art, just like your BFF, Nikki Maxwell. So, I submitted my artwork in this art contest and I totally thought I’d win. I spent a lot of time on it and thought my work was really good! But, I didn’t win. I wasn’t even a runner up! Then another art contest came along and I decided to try again. If at first you don’t succeed, try again, right? But the same thing happened! Now I’m beginning to think I should just give up on being an artist and never do it again! What do you think?

Frustrated Failure

What’s Up Frustrated Failure,

First of all, you may be frustrated, but you’re NOT a failure. It’s awesome that you put your art out there in those contests. That’s kind of a scary step! Art can be really personal and meaningful, and putting it out there to be judged takes guts. So, good for you!

I’m sorry you didn’t win. But do I think you should give up on being an artist because you didn’t win a couple art competitions? No way!

Look, every single creator you admire has been rejected, lost an opportunity or been told they’re not good enough. Every. Single. One! Artists, musicians, actors, writers. Photographers, including me! Not that you necessarily admire me. 🙂

But just saying, I’ve been there.

We see the success, the end result of a lot of hard work. We don’t always see how many rejections or losses someone has been through. The same is true with athletes, scientists and politicians. You don’t win Olympic gold, make a major scientific discovery or win an election without first losing some games, having some failed experiments, and losing some elections.

But people who create art (or pursue a sport, an instrument or whatever) do it because they love to. That’s gotta be the main reason to do these things. If it’s just for prizes and winning then…yeah. I guess you should quit.

But you’re proud of the work you did. You spent a lot of time on it and thought it was good. You probably enjoyed doing it. So I think you should keep doing it, because you enjoy it. And as you do more, your skills will improve. Maybe you enter more contests, maybe you don’t. But either way, your skills get better.

Also, it’s good to remember that unlike a soccer game or a math test, the results of an art contest are completely subjective. That means that there’s no black and white way to determine what’s good or what’s not. It’s up to the individual taste of the judges. If you look at the reviews of a book or movie you LOVE, you’ll find multiple people who also HATE it. That’s because people’s opinions on art are all different. So you weren’t the winner for these particular judges. Maybe you will be for the next round of judges. But the main judge that matters is YOU – if you’re proud of the work you did, then hurray!

So go out there and make art! 🙂

Have you ever been rejected, not made a team, not gotten cast in a show, or not won a contest? And then did you keep trying? Tell us about it in the comments!
June 20, 2019

WHY WON’T MY MOM GIVE ME SOME SPACE?!?!

Hey Nikki!

My mom won’t back off and give me some space! I try my best to be polite about it, but she can be really annoying sometimes. I know she cares about me, but I need a little me time. And privacy! When I’m reading a really good mystery book, she just barges into my room without knocking! What can I do?

A Little Privacy Please!

Hi A Little Privacy Please,

Oh, parents! They mean well. At least, it sounds like your mom does. She wants to make sure you know she’s there for you. Not everyone has a mom like that!

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. It sounds like you know your mom is just trying to help. And it’s still understandable for you to want some space! Sometimes even the most supportive parent can be a little annoying.

I think you should keep politely asking for more privacy. It’s totally fair! But you’re more likely to get it if you offer a compromise. Your mom also needs time with you, and she wants to keep communication open to make sure you’re doing okay.
So, I think a family meeting would be good. Or just a talk between you and your mom, but it might be less awkward if you make this issue about all family members and don’t single your mom out. You guys could come up with a family agreement about personal space, quiet time, and family time. Some things on that agreement might include:

  1. Knocking on the door: This is a basic respect for space that kids should give to adults AND adults should give to kids. (Exception: any situation where they’re worried you’re in danger.)
  2. Door signs: You would have to promise not to overuse this, but you could make a sign to hang on your door when you really need privacy. You could get agreements from family members that if the sign is up, they’ll ONLY interrupt (by KNOCKING) when it’s absolutely necessary they talk to you. And everyone else should be allowed to use the signs too, if they’d like them.
  3. Talk time: Set a special time when you and your mom can chat. She wants to know how you’re doing! It can be awkward and annoying, but SO MANY of the letters I get could be answered with the same advice: Talk to your parents. It’s great that you have a parent who WANTS to talk to you. Keep that communication open!

I’m sure it might feel awkward to tell your mom this stuff, but it sounds like she really cares and wants to know how you’re feeling. So, she’s more likely to listen to you and respect how you feel. Be honest with her and make sure she knows you’re not ignoring her, and I thing it’ll work out.

How do you handle it when you need space from your family members? Tell us in the comments!