Too Big

Category: Academic Wings
Author: Judy Dearborn Nill
ISBN: 9781616338077 1616338075
eBook ISBN: 9781616338084 1616338083

Shelby Bradshaw seizes an opportunity to skip fifth grade for all the wrong reasons. She expects to escape the teasing she suffered all last year for being the biggest girl in her class. But her problems follow her, growing even more difficult when she tries to act older than she is.

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Chapter 1

“You Don’t Belong Here”

Shelby Bradshaw threw herself into an empty bus seat. “I hate fifth grade,” she muttered with a fierce swipe at her curly bangs.

This had been the worst first day of school in her life. The ride home promised to be just as bad. Already sweat pooled under her legs, and her jeans stuck to the hot plastic bench. Shelby’s glasses slipped to the end of her nose. Pushing them back, she twisted sideways to open a window. It felt like a hundred degrees in the bus.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Kenny Hollander stick out his tongue. She glared at him and another boy from her class, who thumbed his nose at her.

Mrs. Jefferson, the principal of Culverton Elementary, was right. Shelby didn’t belong with them.

A trio of giggly girls zigzagged down the aisle. Then Josh Morton, a sixth grader with rusty hair and freckles, bounded up the steps. He paused to peer around the bus. Shelby noticed that during the last year he’d grown almost as tall as she had.

Without warning, he dropped into the space beside her. She caught her breath. Boys never sat by girls if they could help it. Especially not big girls with glasses and frizzy dark hair. He must not have seen her. When he looked, he’d do something awful, like make a face and move to another seat.

Shelby’s pulse raced.

But Josh didn’t look at her. He leaned across the aisle to tap the boy next to Kenny. “Trade places with me,” he said.

Philip Sanchez turned around. After glancing from Josh to Shelby, he groaned. “No way, José.”

Kenny nudged him. “Aw, come on. She won’t bite. Much.”

The boys from her class snorted.

Shelby’s stomach lurched. What should she do? She couldn’t just sit there and be humiliated. She’d already been the target of too many jokes about her size and near-sightedness. Even about the principal wanting to skip her into sixth grade.

Hugging her arms to her chest, Shelby scooted as close to the window as she could. “Eee-yew!” she yelled.

For one long moment, Josh focused shock-widened eyes on her. A hot pink flush crept up his neck and set his ears on fire.

Shelby bit her tongue. What had she done? She opened her mouth to apologize, but her throat closed.

Kenny craned around with a smirk. “That’s what you get for sitting by Bigshaw.”

Josh scrambled to his feet. “Sheesh! You’d think she was poisoned or something.” He made his way to the back of the bus.

“She is poison.” Kenny stood to follow him. “Thinks she’s too smart for fifth grade. You can have her, Josh.”

“Me? I don’t want her!”

“Me, either,” said Philip, trailing the other two. “If she was really smart, she wouldn’t act so dumb.”