Cover image for The girl with 500 middle names
The girl with 500 middle names
Haddix, Margaret Peterson.
Personal Author:
Large print edition.
Publication Information:
Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press, 2002.

Physical Description:
117 pages ; 23 cm
Janie's parents move to the suburbs so she can go to a better school, but when she discovers that all the other students are richer than she is, she feels out of place--until she realizes that there are more important things than money.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.8 2.0 48376.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Large Print Childrens Area

On Order


Author Notes

Margaret Peterson Haddix was born in Washington Court House, Ohio on April 9, 1964. She received bachelor's degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing, and history from Miami University in 1986. Before becoming an author, she was a copy editor for The Journal-Gazette, a newspaper reporter for The Indianapolis News, an instructor at Danville Area Community College, and a freelance writer. Her first book, Running Out of Time, was published in 1995. She has written more than 30 books including Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey, Just Ella, Turnabout, The Girl with 500 Middle Names, Because of Anya, and Into the Gauntlet. She also writes the Shadow Children series and the Missing series. She has won the International Reading Association Children's Book Award and several state Readers' Choice Awards.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Haddix's (Just Ella; Running Out of Time) first novel for the Ready-for-Chapters series features a likable narrator adjusting to a new neighborhood and value system. Janie's secretary mother knits sweaters (personalized with children's names) in her spare time to sell at a fancy store and uses the extra income to fund a move from the city to the suburbs. There, third-grader Janie can attend a better public school, but all the children dress better than she does. Soon after Janie and her parents relocate, the store's owner returns all the sweaters, announcing that he has found a cheaper source. With no money for the new wardrobe her mother had promised her, Janie begins wearing the handknit sweaters to school, explaining that the embroidered monikers are her middle names. In a tidy conclusion, the girl's modeling of the sweaters inspires her mother to sell them on her own and Janie finally abandons her resistance to the kind, lonely classmate who has tried to become her friend. Despite a few overwritten passages (e.g., "I remembered how she'd knitted and knitted and knitted, early in the morning and late at night, on the bus and at home, every second she could for a solid year. Just for me. Because she loved me"), readers will likely warm up to this appealing novel's perceptive, independent-minded title character. Ages 7-10. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Janie and her parents have been living in strapped financial circumstances since her father suffered a back injury rendering him unable to work. After observing the dilapidated state of her daughter's school, her mother decides to sell the knitwear she creates to supplement her salary and moves the family to a better school district. Though the third grader is successful academically, she is keenly aware that her classmates are better dressed than she is and she feels as if she doesn't fit in. When her mother loses her knitwear consignment position, Janie reluctantly accepts a hand-me-down coat from a classmate. She also begins wearing the specialty sweaters that were returned, hoping to arouse interest and maybe attract clientele for her mother. Since each sweater has a different moniker, the students assume that Janie has many middle names. All ends well when Mrs. Sams makes plans to sell her creations herself and Janie, no longer a loner, makes a best friend. Charcoal illustrations are scattered throughout this easy-to-read chapter book. A warmhearted tale of a self-possessed girl who is determined to make life better for her parents.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One "Good-bye, broken chalkboard," I whispered. "Good-bye, cracked floor." Cross-eyed Krissy turned around and glared at me. Nobody's supposed to call her that, but everybody does -- just not to her face. Krissy had to go through first grade two times, so she's older and bigger than the rest of us third graders. Nobody messes with her. But it's hard not to stare at her eyes. They don't look in the same direction at the same time. At the beginning of last year, I asked her if she could teach me how to do that with my eyes. I thought it was a talent, like whistling or walking on your hands. Cross-eyed Krissy looked at me -- first with one eye, then the other -- and then she spit right on my shoes. Everybody told me I was lucky she didn't beat me up. Now I shrank down in my seat, like I did every time Cross-eyed Krissy turned around. "What are you talking about?" she growled. I reminded myself I wouldn't see Krissy ever again after today either. I spoke up, bold as brass. "I'm saying good-bye," I said. "I'm going to a new school on Monday." "Yeah?" Krissy said. "Yeah," I said, suddenly too full of my news to keep it to myself. "And it's nice. It doesn't have any broken windows at all. It's got carpet three inches thick in all the classrooms, my momma says. And all the kids get to work on computers. And they have a reading corner in the library with fairy-tale people painted on the wall." Krissy squinted at me. One eye seemed to look off to where one of our classroom windows had been covered with plywood all year long. The other eye just showed white. It was a scary thing, Krissy squinting. "You're lying," she said, playing with the bottom part of her desk, where it came loose all the time. It made a tapping noise, like a drum. "There ain't no schools like that." "Children," our teacher, Mrs. Stockrun, said from behind her desk at the front. "I should not be hearing any noise right now. Aren't you doing your worksheets?" But she didn't even look up. I think she was reading a magazine. One of the boys blew a spitball at her desk. "I am not lying," I told Krissy. Cassandra from across the aisle looked over at us. "She's telling the truth," she told Krissy. "I heard Mrs. Stockrun tell Mrs. Mungo during recess, someone's leaving. 'One less paper to grade,' she said." I felt sad, all of a sudden, that Mrs. Stockrun wasn't going to miss me any more than that. But I wasn't going to miss her, either. "So she's leaving," Krissy said, like she didn't want to be proved wrong. "That don't mean she's going someplace nice." Cassandra was turning a bad word someone had written on the top of her desk into a flower. It had hundreds of petals, and leaves dangling like ivy. It was the prettiest thing I'd ever seen drawn on a desk. "Oh, she is. I heard that, too," Cassandra said. She heard everything. "Mrs. Stockrun said she's going to the suburbs." Krissy frowned. I wondered if she'd hit Cassandra for talking back to her. I just wanted to get out of this school without seeing another fight. But Krissy was frowning at me. "How?" she asked. She was puzzled, not mad. "You're just as poor as the rest of us. How you gonna go to a school like that?" "Sweaters," I said. Copyright © 2001 by Margaret Peterson Haddix Excerpted from The Girl with 500 Middle Names by Margaret Peterson Haddix All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.