The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown

The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown
by Crystal Allen

Readers Theater

Book Trailer

Author Interview

Related Activities & Resources:

Informational Resources:

Author Information:

Crystal Allen website:

Crystal Allen bio:

Interview with The Brown Bookshelf:

Interview with Teen Writers Bloc:

Activities & Resources:


She’ll be coming around the mountain (2:31):

How to tie and throw a lasso:


How to ride a mechanical bull:

How to make a mummy:

Tutankhamun facts:

Card games:

Classic card games:

How to sew:

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame:

The cowgirl – Annie Oakley:

Basketball rules:

How to play basketball:

Painting activities for kids:

Jump rope games:

Creating costumes:

Mother Goose rhymes (scroll half-way down the page to see the links to the rhymes)::

Smoothie recipes:

Superheros and their superpowers: (6:13)

Cheerleading techniques:

MakerSpace Activities:

Bead jewelry for kids:

Friendship bracelets:

Play music and create a picture that tells about the music – like Connie and Mya did.

Use recycled materials or an app and design a superhero. Decide on a name and what powers it has.

Discussion Questions:

Mya liked to tell taradiddles. Would you like hearing these nonsense stories or would you think they are more like lies? Can you tell one?

The author started each chapter with an illustration that hinted at what was going to happen. What did you think of this technique?

Nugget was willing to do Solo’s math homework in exchange for his protection from name calling and to hang with the cool crowd. What would it take for you to agree to do someone else’s homework or would you just walk away?

Skye and Starr are twins. Would you like to be one? Why or why not?

How did you feel about Nugget dropping his best friend, Fish, so he could team up with Solo?

Mya and her Dad were talking about the mistakes she made that led to her detention. What do you think Mya meant when she said, “I’m sorry, Dad. I’ll try to make better mistakes tomorrow”?

Mya, Connie, and Nugget were all teased with these names – Mya Tibbs fibs, Mean Connie, and Word Nerd Nugget. If you or a friend were the victim, what would you do to stop this teasing?

Bullying occurred in this story. Have you been a victim or were you a bully? If so, how did this happen and has it been resolved?

Connie and Mya were partners for Spirit Week and decided to be “fake friends”. Have you ever pretended to be a friend with someone? If so, did things turn out the way you wanted them to?

Mya betrayed Connie by telling Naomi some of their Spirit Week plans. Do you think her reason was good enough? Would or could you betray your partner?

Mya thought, “It hurts to lose your best friend, and when you do, you’ll do anything to get him back.” What do you think about this?

Would you like your school to sponsor a Spirit Week? Explain.

Has anything like Naomi’s mechanical bull riding experience ever happened to you? If so, how did it turn out?

Mya’s school had a random picking process for Spirit Week partners. Do you think students should be allowed to trade partners? If so, under what circumstances?

What do you think of pinkie promises?

Mya wanted so badly to be best friends with Naomi. Would you want to be best friends with Naomi? Why or why not?

Would you want to be friends with Mya? How about Connie? Why or why not?

When did you realize that Naomi only wanted to be friends with Mya because she was Nugget’s sister? Has this happened to you?

A lot of kids thought Connie was mean and a bully. Do you think she acted this way? Explain.

Mya had lucky cowgirl boots. Do you or have you ever had a good luck charm? Do you think it works?

Nugget and Mya helped their dad in his store. Explain if you would like to help your Mom or Dad at their workplace.

Do you think Mya was right in roping and tying Naomi to stop her from going into Connie’s art room? Why or why not? What did you think of her detention? Was it too severe or just right?

How did you feel about how Mya’s parents handled her detention? As Mya’s parent, what would you have said to her?

Book Talk Teasers:

Read the Readers Theater.

Ask for a few volunteers and then quietly give each one of them one of these scenarios to pantomime – making a pinkie promise; riding a mechanical bull; showing spirit; eating hot dogs in an eating contest. Ask the audience to guess the pantomimes, which are important events in this story.

Read Alikes:

Realistic fiction

Bildner, Phil. Rip and Red. “From the first morning with their odd new teacher fifth grade is full of shocking surprises for best friends Rip and Red”–. (NoveList Plus)

Cheng, Andrea.Year of the book. Follows a young Chinese American girl, as she navigates relationships with family, friends, and her fourth-grade classroom, and finds a true best friend. (NoveList Plus)

Cheng, Andrea.The year of the fortune cookie. Eleven-year-old Anna takes a trip to China and learns more about herself and her Chinese heritage. (NoveList Plus)

Freeman, Martha. Secret Cookie Club. Four very different girls meet at Moonlight Ranch camp and decide to remain friends all year by exchanging letters and home-made cookies, using recipes their counselor’s grandfather passed along. (NoveList Plus)

Keenan-Bolger, Andrew. Jack & Louisa. Twelve-year-olds Jack and Louisa tell, in their separate voices, of his reluctant departure from New York City and Broadway stardom to live in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where new neighbor Louisa, a “musical theater nerd,” urges him to audition for the local theater’s production of “Into the Woods.” (NoveList Plus)

Look, Lenore. Ruby Lu, brave and true. “Almost-eight-year-old” Ruby Lu spends time with her baby brother, goes to Chinese school, performs magic tricks and learns to drive, and has adventures with both old and new friends. (NoveList Plus)

McCafferty, Megan. Jessica Darling’s It list. The day before seventh grade begins, twelve-year-old Jessica Darling gets a list from her sister, whose popularity and beauty made her a junior-high standout, but when she tries to follow it, all goes awry, including losing her best friend. (NoveList Plus)

Schanen, Adriana Brad. Quinny & Hopper. “Two polar-opposite eight year olds who become summer best friends find their friendship threatened by the uncertainties of a new school year”–. (NoveList Plus)

Diary novels; Realistic fiction

Becker, Suzy. Kate the great. Fifth-grader Kate faces a challenge when her mother asks her to be especially nice to Nora, a classmate and fellow flute player who is sometimes mean. (NoveList Plus)

Sternberg, Julie.Top secret diary of Celie Valentine. Using the journal she receives for her tenth birthday from her father, Celie Valentine records what’s on her mind, including feuding with her best friend Lula, spying on her parents, and trying to figure out her grandmother’s odd behavior. (NoveList Plus)

Vail, Rachel. Justin Case: rules, tools, and maybe a bully. Embarking on a new school year filled with friends, tests, and other worries, Justin Case records the tribulations of fourth grade in his diary while struggling to outmaneuver a local bully. (NoveList Plus)

Early chapter books; Realistic fiction

Grimes, Nikki. Dyamonde Daniel books. Spunky third-grader Dyamonde Daniel misses her old neighborhood, but when she befriends a boy named Free, another new student at school, she finally starts to feel at home. (NoveList Plus)

Harper, Charise Mericle. Just Grace and the super sleepover. Just Grace is excited to attend her classmate Grace F’s sleepover birthday party until she learns it will be a camp-out, and then her fears begin to cause trouble. (NoveList Plus)

Early chapter books; First person narratives; Realistic fiction

Salisbury, Graham. Calvin Coconut: trouble magnet. Nine-year-old Calvin catches the attention of the school bully on the day before he starts fourth grade, while at home, the unfriendly, fifteen-year-old daughter of his mother’s best friend has taken over his room. (NoveList Plus)

Humorous stories; Realistic fiction

Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Phineas L. MacGuire. Fourth-grade science whiz Phineas MacGuire is forced to team up with the new boy in class on a science fair project, but the boy’s quirky personality causes Phineas to wonder if they have any chance of winning. (NoveList Plus)

Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Phineas L. MacGuire…gets cooking! “Phineas has a new chore of cooking dinner every night, but his kitchen experiments take a turn for the worse when the school bully takes a huge liking to Phineas’s brownies”–. (NoveList Plus)

First person narratives; Realistic fiction

Cabot, Meg.The new girl. Guided by her rules, nine-year-old Allie works to get past being just the new girl at school, eagerly awaits the arrival of her kitten, and faces turmoil when her grandmother visits while the family is still settling into their new home. (NoveList Plus)

Paratore, Coleen. Sweet and Sunny. Despite facing a host of problems, old and new, optimistic fourth-grader Sunny continues her quest to create a national Kid’s Day and improve other holidays, especially the upcoming Valentine’s Day, while bringing joy to those around her. (NoveList Plus)

First person narratives; Humorous stories; Realistic fiction

Gutman, Dan. Miss Daisy is crazy! Miss Daisy’s unusual teaching methods surprise her second grade students, especially reluctant learner A.J. (NoveList Plus)

Look, Lenore. Alvin Ho: allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and other tourist attractions. Fearful seven-year-old Alvin Ho goes on a trip to China with his family. (NoveList Plus)

First person narratives; Multiple perspectives; Realistic fiction

Weeks, Sarah. Save me a seat. Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems–but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives. (NoveList Plus)

Book Reviews:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, 03/01/1

Allen, Crystal  Spirit Week Showdown; illus. by Eda Kaban. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2016 [240p] (The Magnificent Mya Tibbs)  Trade  ed. ISBN 978-0-06-234233-1 $16.99  E-book  ed. ISBN 978-0-06-234235-5 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 3-5

Fourth-grader Mya Tibbs is excited about her Texas school’s Spirit Week, in which students pair up to wear different themed outfits each day and compete for VIP tickets to the Fall Festival rodeo, a prize Mya desperately wants. Mya promises her new best friend, the glamorous Naomi, that they will be partners no matter what, but when Mya gets paired with “Mean Connie Tate,” she’s too afraid to pressure Connie to trade partners. Naomi not only drops Mya like a hot potato but also starts publicly shaming her as a promise-breaker and a liar. Meanwhile, Connie is not living up to her nickname at all, and Mya finds herself increasingly liking the tall, gruff, artistic girl. Savvy readers will likely figure out Connie’s secret past (she was a previous victim of Naomi’s backstabbing at another school) before Mya does. While Naomi is a fairly one-dimensional villain, the supporting characters are a likable bunch, and Mya and her African-American family are particularly endearing, with Mya’s little brother adding some mischief and her parents offering support and encouragement. The piquant Western details of this Texas tale also give it an enjoyable specificity, and Allen adeptly depicts the desperation that arises when a malicious former friend turns against a erstwhile pal. Kids who have had their own run-ins with mean girls will particularly relate to Mya’s story. JH (March 2016).  Used with the permission of Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books .

Horn Book

Allen, Crystal Spirit Week Showdown
230 pp. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray 2016. ISBN 978-0-06-234233-1

(3) 4–6 Illustrated by Eda Kaban. Magnificent Mya Tibbs series. In this high-energy school drama, after nine-year-old wannabe-cowgirl Mya is paired with Mean Connie for Spirit Week (Mya’s favorite week), her new friendship with Naomi is on the rocks. Meanwhile, the Bluebonnet, Texas, school is busy with cowboy-themed Fall Festival preparations. This first installment drops readers into Mya’s world, where there are endless reasons to fret but also to laugh and cheer.    From the Fall 2016 issue of The Horn Book Guide.  Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide by permission of The Horn Book, Inc.,

School Library Journal

ALLEN, Crystal. Spirit Week Showdown. illus. by Eda Kaban. 240p. (The Magnificent Mya Tibbs). Balzer + Bray. Jan. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062342331.

Gr 4-7–Fourth grader Mya is very excited about Spirit Week, since she and her best friend, pageant-winning Naomi, plan to win VIP tickets to the Fall Festival by showing the most spirit. When Mya is paired instead with “Mean” Connie and doesn’t insist on changing partners, Naomi breaks off their friendship, calls Mya names, and vows to win the tickets herself. Mya is a quirky character who throws tall tales into conversations and often finds herself in trouble. Her initial reluctance in working with Connie is realistic, as is their eventual friendship, but Naomi’s actions, especially in a past incident involving Connie, are at a level of meanness that seems much older than fourth grade. Mya’s family is wonderful: her pregnant mother is very supportive, her father has Mya help at his business, and her brother suffers through his own friend issues. The Texas setting will be intriguing for readers in other parts of the country, although a bit more explanation about Mya’s school would have been helpful in setting the scene. Mya is African American, and her classmates are realistically diverse. This series starter is ideal for readers who have matured past Sharon Draper’s “Sassy” (Scholastic) or Anica Mrose Rissi’s “Anna, Banana” (S. & S.) and are enjoying Leslie Margolis’s Boys Are Dogs (Bloomsbury, 2008) or Lauren Myracle’s Ten (Dutton, 2011). VERDICT The length, school activities, and emotional content seem more appropriate to middle school, so this novel will appeal to sophisticated elementary students.–Karen Yingling, Blendon Middle School.  Reprinted with permission from School Library Journal,  Copyright 2016.