New Kid Survival Guide

About the Author: Charlotte Elizabeth Ramsey has been new three times in five years in three different countries. She is the world's leading expert on embarrassing school moments and writes completely from her own experience as a disaster magnet. Someday she hopes to master the art of fitting in. Charlotte lives with her father, Richard, author of Serengeti Summer ... or How I Survived an Elephant Stampede and Lessons on a Coral Reef ... or The Great White Shark Is Not Your Friend. She used to live with her cat, Orangina, but she ran away the day before Charlotte left Paris.

Chapter One: Top Ten Things NOT to Do the First Day of School

By Someone Who Has Done Them All

  1. 1. Wear a long African skirt while riding your bike to school in Australia.

  2. Wear underwear with purple pigs on them in case your skirt gets pulled off and eaten by your bike chain.

  3. Wear shorts if you have hairy legs.

  4. Introduce yourself in a loud, friendly voice to a group of girls applying eye makeup.

  5. Bring anything in a Thermos.

  6. Go to lunch by yourself.

  7. Eat school porridge.

  8. Join a conversation about a movie you've never seen.

  9. Throw up on a cute boy's shoe.

  10. Eat anything with poppy seeds in it and then smile without checking your teeth in a mirror.

Even though I was still nervous, I saved the file, shut down my computer, and climbed into bed. After twenty minutes of tossing and turning like a beached codfish, I flipped the light back on. Time for desperate measures. I hopped out of bed and got my oldest stuffed animal, Truffles the Pig, down from the shelf. I also took my Mom's old denim jacket off the back of my desk chair and put it on over my pajamas. I wear it for inspiration when I'm writing, but that night, I needed it for comfort. I pulled it around me and got back into bed, fingering the charm bracelet in the pocket. The bracelet was a baby present from Mom, and while I outgrew it ages ago, I've always kept it. With Truffles beside me and my fleece blanket all snug around me, I began to feel cozy. There was just one last thing I needed to do. I reached for the worn copy of Charlotte's Web that was my mother's when she was little. I turned to the last page and read the line Mom had underlined:

It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

Then I began reading the story I've read a hundred times since I was little, and in the comfort of the story I knew so well, I fell asleep.