New book series for tweens? Yes.
Worth your time? Yes.
Your tween–girls, especially–will really like it? You bet.
It’s the Star Darlings series.
Maddy, Cora, and I are giving a big, star shout-out to this new fantasy series for a bunch of reasons.
Here’s the skinny. . .
New Book Series for Tweens — 5 Reasons to Love Disney’s ‘Star Darlings‘:
If your kids are at all Disney fans, they’ve seen a lot of Star Darlings over the past few months; Disney has been sneaking in some Star Darling videos and shorts, some commercials and a bunch of book promo between episodes of Jesse, Austin & Allie, and Dog With a Blog.
What you need to know about ‘Star Darlings‘
- Disney’s Star Darlings series is written by Ahmet Zappa and Shana Muldoon Zappa and is geared toward middle grade students, ages 8-12 years old.
- The whole Star Darlings series focuses on a group of twelve girls from Starland who have been chosen to go to Wishworld (Earth) and grant wishes to Wishlings (Earthlings) in order to save Starland from their terrible crisis.
- Each of the twelve chapter books take you on a Star Darling’s first magical wish mission on Wishworld, where she discovers the power of wishes, learns a lesson about herself, and helps collect the positive energy that Starland desperately needs to survive.
- Each of the Star Darlings is a unique and special individual with her own strengths and weaknesses. One of the things Cora likes best is that ‘the girls aren’t perfect. They each have things they’re working on–like us.’
- Essentially, the Star Darlings series is all about making positive choices and learning that you make things possible.
- There’s a lot of listening to your inner voice (which I think is a super-important skill for kids) and trusting your instincts (also a great skill for kids).
- There’s a lot of leaning on your friends and networking.
- There’s a lot of learning to deal with challenges and celebrating successes.
Here are 5 reasons to love this new series:
1. The characters are unique and kids really connect with them.
Sage, Libby, Adora Astra, Cassie, Clover, Gemma, Leona, Piper, Scarlet, Tessa, and Vega are the main characters among a sea of cool teachers, family members, and classmates at Starling Academy.
Each character has a distinct color, hobby, and style. Each Star Darling was given her own Wish Pendant, Wish Blossom, and Power Crystal–things that my girls have taken to memorizing and sharing.
It seems as though when series have characters distinct and memorable like this, readers really tend to remember them.
Though among the great characters–the Star Darlings–there are also some tough ones. There’s Vivica who is coined ‘the mean girl’ from the outset–something that I don’t particularly love but which is often the case in literature for younger audiences.
It’s a great discussion point for parents, though. Consider chatting about:
- What do we mean when we say, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’?
- When is it an acceptable time to group people according to the way they look, act, or sound?
- Why are people sometimes put in ‘groups’ according to with whom they most spend time?
- Are people all ‘good’ or all ‘bad’? Or do they fall in between?
- How would you feel if you were called ‘the good girl’ or ‘the quiet girl’ or ‘the sporty girl’? What happens to people when we label them this way?
- Are there ‘labels’ for kids at your school? Explain.
2.It’s a very visual story–which helps readers understand better.
Reading these books aloud together has been so much fun because it is so incredibly visual. You can really just close your eyes and imagine every, single thing down to the very last shimmer and sparkle.
Visualizing is one of the keys to reading comprehension. Visualization involves creating a ‘movie in your mind’ as you read–being able to ‘see’ what you’re reading. Any time we can mention this to our kids, to remind them to take a minute to visualize what they’re reading, the better.
When you can see the characters, setting, and concepts unfolding, you can better understand them. Talk about what you see, hear, smell, and feel as you read, and if your kids have a difficult time doing so, The Wisher’s Guide or the video shorts may help!
3. A Wisher’s Guide to Starland brings the series together.
Kind of like the Star Darlings’ Student Manual, A Wisher’s Guide covers everything you need to know about the entire series.
It makes the whole series seem ‘official’, like readers are actually becoming part of a special club when they read it and become acquainted with the information.
Six sections that cover Star Darlings, Wish Energy, Starland, Starling Academy, Faculty and Students, and Wishworld, the guide is cover to cover beautiful illustrations and images that tweens will love.
A great way to build schema–or give folks new to this series some background information–this guide gave Cora many ‘aha!’ moments as we read the books. I know who they’re talking about here! she’d say as a character was introduced.
Or, Mom! I have a feeling that I know who this teacher is!
Or Do you want me to tell you what I know about this person? I remember reading about her in the Wisher’s Guide!
It’s a confidence-builder. A little introduction before the party starts. I highly recommend it.
4. It’s fun to fall into everything Starland.
The language of the Star Darlings is startastic. It’s startacular, in fact. There’s a starmendous amount of ‘starspeak’ which, after book number two or three, becomes contagious.
You’ll all start talking about yourselves as Wishlings and will reach for your Star Pendant instead of your keys or your holobook instead of your phone.
You’ll begin to look at things in floozels instead of miles, and you’ll try to order green globules, gloranges, garble greens, starcakes, or moonberries at restaurants.
You’ll look for glowfurs and flutterfocuses in your backyard and will dream about riding a galliope across the Star Quad.
The cool thing is that each book has a Glossary in the back, so it’s yet another way to reinforce to our young readers the importance of looking for clarification. Not sure of a word? First, try to figure it out by context clues. Still need help? Look in the glossary!
5. The music, the app, the videos, the shorts, and the shows are a fabulous way to continue the Star Darling love.
Friends, there’s a lot of Star Darlings right now, and though it may seem to get old to us, our tweens love it.
There is an app (watch for in-app purchases!) that I think is a great complement to this series. I actually did buy the whole thing for Cora–I think it was maybe $6–because having access to the whole thing allowed her access to more reading.
The app includes some Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type stories and fashion and wardrobe options for the characters.
Check out a few other posts that may help you develop strong and healthy habits for your family:
- wait time
- my day, your day
- frozen peas
- kids who rock the kitchen
- kids who rock the laundry
- rest time
- gem jars
- arm circles
- noticing kids
- homework routine
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