Emma Just Medium

The Beach Dilemma

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Pub Date 01 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2023
Red Chair Press, One Elm Books


Even though her family calls her Emma Bemma, Emma knows she is really a dilEmma. The middle kid between her two brothers, whom everyone calls Big and Little, Emma is just Medium. Big thinks he's the coolest kid on the planet now that he's ten. He doesn't want to play with LEGOs, or play anything with Emma anymore. And everyone thinks Little is adorable, even when he picks his nose and eats it! Sometimes Emma feels like the only one who understands her is her Japanese fighting fish, Star, whose tank is stuck in the middle of his two brothers. And as usual, Emma has to ride in the middle seat as her family heads out on a weeklong beach vacation with friends, where being just medium will only get worse! Then Emma has an idea. What if she could get out of being in the middle by taking on a new role? What if she acted BIG? Will things go as planned? Or will she have another huge dilEmma?

Even though her family calls her Emma Bemma, Emma knows she is really a dilEmma. The middle kid between her two brothers, whom everyone calls Big and Little, Emma is just Medium. Big thinks he's the...

Advance Praise

This is one of the best children’s chapter books I have read in a long time. Not only as an adult, but from what I can remember reading as a child as well. Each character is incredibly relatable and the real-life scenarios they find themselves in are relevant to kids today. I can see this book being part of a Scholastic book fair or one of those books children often checkout from the school library.

The illustrations perfectly fit the story. They allowed me to place scenes in my head and keep it continuing in a cinematic way as I read the story. This could be an entire book, T.V., or movie series that I would enjoy as an adult as well as share with my children. Emma Just Medium: The Beach Dilemma is a fun children’s book with charismatic characters that kids will enjoy following.

--Literary Titan (January 2023)

This is one of the best children’s chapter books I have read in a long time. Not only as an adult, but from what I can remember reading as a child as well. Each character is incredibly relatable and...

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Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781947159600
PRICE $14.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 16 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and Red Chair Press for this cute read. I clicked "Read Now" as I thought it was a short picture book but it was not it was a chapter book. Ha! I said why not let's see what this is all about. It was great little book of lessons and fun. I really loved the illustration. I would read more of these books because I really enjoyed it. As a middle grade, this was good.

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Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore the cover of this book! I think it perfectly captures siblings at the age of the characters. The story felt pretty accurate as far as how a middle child might feel and act out. However, I am an only child, so I might not be the best judge. The story was pretty fun and I think it would be especially good for "middles" to help work through the challenges of not being the biggest or the smallest. My favorite part of the book was probably the adorable illustrations. This would be great for beginning chapter book readers.

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Emma Just Medium is a heart warming middle grade book about a girl who is struggling with breaking out of this mould of being the middle child. She's really not enjoying being a middle child because there's nothing fun about it. Her little brother "little" is the cute one, everything he does is adorable; even picking his nose and eating his boogers is cute, people eat it up because he's little and he's cute. Big on the other hand is Emma's big brother, who is just too cool for anything, he's a big boy now and doesn't play with Emma anymore because he's a big boy and Emma doesn't like that , and she doesn't like being medium Emma. So we follow Emma on this journey where she will learn that being medium/ middle child is not so bad and that there are some cool and nice qualities or perks of being a middle child.

I really loved this book and felt the pain, sadness and frustrations she was feeling. It's such a great book for middle grade readers with really great lessons and commentary about the trials and tribulations of being a middle child that I feel other fellow middle kids can relate to.

Thank you to netgalley for this Arc😄

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This book gives a true representation of what it is like to be a middle child. Not old enough yet but too old to be little. Emma learning it’s ok to be in the middle and finding her own space was so fun to read!

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I know what it’s like to be a big sister! I can totally relate you know!

This is the story of Emma who’s a child herself but has to act like the big sister because she is! She feels overwhelmed at times but her parents are quite understanding seeing her plight. Bless her parents.

I find the writing really good and perfect for the beginners/ reading audience.

It’s going to be a perfect summer read for the kids! Yes, the characters do have fun in the beach!

Thank you, Red Chair Press, for the advance reading copy.

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Emma is the middle child. So he is treated like a middle. She has an older brother, Big, and a younger brother, Little. They are on their way to a family vacation with her best friend and his parents. Her best friend is also a middle child. Emma is tired of being the middle child. Will she act out at the beach? I thoroughly enjoyed this children’s book. The illustrations were colorful, vivid, and detailed. The book cover is pretty and depicts the storyline. I recommend this book to late elementary kids and middle grades. I give this book 4 stars.

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This was a touching book about how it can be simultaneously painful and sweet to be the middle child. I come from a family of two and it is eye opening to read about the struggle to not only be the middle child, but also how parents have to juggle the intricacies of three. I read the book alongside by 12-year old daughter and we both felt it to be relatable- we both chuckled at the same parts for different reasons- her relating to Emma and sometimes Little and me relating to Emma's mother. There are some wonderful lessons within these pages and I look forward to reading more stories about Emma!

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**Thank you to NetGalley and Red Chair Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review**

Emma is the middle child. Her younger brother, Little, is 3, and her older brother, Big, is 10. Emma is coming to terms with the fact that Big is growing more into his own person, and this includes getting his own friends. He doesn't play with her as much anymore, and Little is too small to understand her games to play with her either. There's a certain kind of loneliness that comes with this realization.

We follow Emma as she is packed into the back seat of the car--in the middle, of course--on her family's way to a summer vacation at the beach with their family friends, the Farbers. She decides that she is going to act like she was born in a different birth order, so she starts thinking about how she should speak and act as someone bigger. The Farbers just so happen to be her best friend, Wes the Best's parents, and her new plans include not hanging out with him anymore just because he is also a middle child and she can't associate with other middles if this plan is to work out.

Let's just say that trying to be too grown up doesn't end up working out for her, so she decides maybe she should go back to being little again. After all, Little's bad behavior isn't scolded the same hers is. However, in the end, being little doesn't work either. She has a heart to heart with her dad, and realizes that there are advantages to being in the middle after all.

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EMMA JUST MEDIUM is Just Terrific
Laura Wiltse Prior has beautifully and lovingly captured the challenges faced by a middle child;; and she has done it with sensitivity and humor. It is a delight to see Emma navigate her world and ultimately come into her own.
I shared this with my own middle sister and we both agreed we wish we had had this charming book as kids.
The winning illustrations by Marta Kissi add just enough visual humor to enhance the story.
A good read for the whole family!
Anne k. (Independent Reviewer)

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I and my 7 year old read this together it was a cute story! She laughed and loved the pictures and had a good lesson behind the book as well. I myself thought it was cute story and loved the funny bits and silly dialogue between siblings the pictures were great to show what was going on in the story. I recommend this book.

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This was an adorable book about a middle child who is just trying to be seen. She tries acting older and then acting younger. Nothing seems to work!

Being a middle child can be difficult and this cute story about Emma trying to fit in is perfect! It’s cute and relatable.

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Emma Just Medium was fun, cute, and would be the perfect gift for a middle child of a family. Poor Emma is stuck in the middle or "medium" between two brothers and finds it hard to be "just Emma" so she decides to act "big" at the beach. At the end of the day, she realizes that there may be some advantages to being stuck in the middle.

I read this to my 3 and 5 year old boys and they enjoyed it. It's the perfect little chapter book for early readers.

Thank you to NetGalley and Red Chair Press for allowing me to be an early reader. All opinions are my own.

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The saying that "Middle Children are like mints, put them in your pocket and forget them", is NOT true. Not true for Emma and not true for anyone. Emma Just Medium is a delightful book for all children no matter how many siblings are in the family. Emma tries different tactics and discovers she's just as special as her siblings. Read this to your children or leave it out for them to pick up and read on their own and it will leave a smile on your face.

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Well developed characters and a nice plot. A nice read just in time for summer. Thanks for the copy.

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I loved reading Emma Just Medium! The characters were so well developed. I really enjoyed how the author was able to capture the dynamics of birth order in such a relatable way. I’m excited for my kids to read it as well!

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-arc of this story in exchange of an honest review.

Una historia muy bien contada.

Creo que la autora realmente logró meterse en el papel de Emma. Y lo creo porque sus pensamientos e ideas me resultaron muy adecuadas para una niña pequeña con dos hermanos, uno mayor y otro pequeño.
La pequeña Emma comienza a sentirse menos especial por causa de ser la "hija del medio". Se fija en que Big (su hermano mayor), tiene ciertos beneficios por ser el más grande, y tener más edad. Puede tener aparatos electrónicos propios y sentarse en el asiento que da hacia la ventana en los viajes en auto.
Por otra parte, Little (el hermano menor), puede cometer errores sin que nadie se lo recrimine solo por ser el más pequeño de la familia, mamá y papá lo toman en brazos constantemente, y si llora puede conseguir que le den el juguete que él prefiera. Y por si fuera poco, también se sienta en el asiento de la ventana, porque su sillita de bebé no puede colocarse en medio.

Esto nos deja con Emma sentada entre sus dos hermanos, cuestionando cuáles son los beneficios de ser la hija del medio... si es que si quiera existe uno. Ella decide que este verano será diferente. Decide que quiere dejar de ser Emma la del medio, quiere ocupar otro lugar en la familia.
Aunque ella no sabe que por muchas ganas que ponga en fingir ser como Big o copiar la forma de hablar de Little, siempre será más cómodo ser ella misma.

A lo largo de la historia la acompañamos en su travesía para descubrir su propia importancia, valorar su lugar en la familia, aprender a amar su forma de ser, y estar en paz con ello.

Recomiendo mucho la historia para primeros lectores, y para disfrutar en familia. Puede llevar a plantearse preguntas interesantes para plantear temas de discusión importantes. Como por ejemplo, ¿qué tan buenos son los sobrenombres?, ¿cómo es nuestra relación con nuestros hermanos?, ¿es bueno hacer bromas pesadas?, entre otras varias. La guía de discusión del libro tiene preguntas de este estilo, ideales para comentar con niños y niñas pequeños.

Finalmente, debo decir que las ilustraciones acompañan muy bien a la historia en todo momento. Están bellísimas y muy útiles para que los niños puedan ir imaginando las escenas a la vez que leen el libro.

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