Chrissa's books Shop Chrissa's World

Chrissa’s story is told by author Mary Casanova in two fiction books, Chrissa and Chrissa Stands Strong. The books show what it can be like to be “the new girl,” and they explore Chrissa’s friendship troubles—plus how she learns to deal with the bullying she encounters at school, at swim club, and even on her computer at home.

In Chrissa, she learns to speak out.

In Chrissa, she learns how to speak out“Ohh,” Tara said in a voice just quiet enough not to draw attention from the teacher. “That valentine is from Gwen Thompson—the Loser Girl. You two could have your own club. You certainly aren’t in ours.” The other two Mean Bees cracked up.

I’d seen girls like this before. On the playground, they whispered and giggled about others and on the bus they refused to give up saved seats. They treat other kids as if they were invisible—or worse, lowly as worms. I ached to be around my old friends instead of these girls. But I met Tara’s eyes and spoke up. “Who says I want to be in your club anyway?”

Tara mimicked me with a toss of her head. “Who says I want to be in your club, anyway?” Then her expression changed to mock hurt. “C’mon Chrissa. Don’t overreact. I’m just having a little fun.”

From Chrissa, p.12

But Chrissa’s stories are not just about friendship troubles. She does find real friendship, and she draws strength from those friends—just as she does from the love and support of her family. Chrissa’s stories also reveal her interest in arts and crafts, and bring to life her love of swimming and diving.

In Chrissa Stands Strong, she finds her courage

In Chrissa Stands Strong, she finds her courageWaiting my turn to try out for the diving team, my heart thrummed in my throat and I shivered. To keep myself calm, I repeated Nana’s words to myself: Just do your best and let the rest take care of itself.

My front dive went by so fast, I honestly wondered if my feet were even on the board. But when I surfaced, Gwen waved and gave me two thumbs up. I smiled back.

All too soon, we were doing our back dives. I made a mental note: Remember your mermaid tail.

I inhaled deeply. This was it. I stepped up the diving platform ladder and walked to the end of the board, feeling its sandpapery surface beneath my bare feet. When I pivoted, I pictured myself as a beautiful mermaid, more comfortable in water than on land. Then I brought my arms down, pushed off, and pretended my feet were one graceful, shimmery tail.

In a flash, I was underwater, pushing toward air. When I surfaced, my brother’s smile told me that I’d done fine.

From Chrissa Stands Strong,
pp. 27-28

Why this story?
What makes bullying such an important topic to address?

About The Author - Mary Casanova

Author Mary Casanova has published more than twenty books for young readers, including Jess (Girl of the Year 2006) and Cécile: Gates of Gold, also for American Girl. To write Chrissa, she tapped into her own childhood memories of growing up on a lake in central Minnesota, where she was one of seven children.

She and her husband live in northern Minnesota, where they ride their horses, Midnight and JJ, and explore Rainy Lake and Voyageurs National Park with their two dogs.