Just Grace (paperback) Just Grace (hardcover)

Just Grace: Excerpt

I did not get to be the helper to Mister Magic the Magician at my very own (so it should have been me) sixth birthday party because Sammy Stringer spit purple grape juice all over my special white shirt with a big six on it, and I had to change it right when Mister Magic was starting up.

Mom said she was sure it was an accident, but I just know that spitting is pretty much an on-purpose thing, and it is almost impossible to forgive someone for something on purpose even if it was almost three years ago, which is a very long time.

I did not get to be a singing and dancing corncob in the Thanksgiving play because I was the only girl tall enough to fit into the tree costume who didn’t cry real boo-hoo baby tears when she was asked, “Could you please not be a corncob, because what we really, really need is a tree and we already have way more than enough corncobs.”

I will not say who cried big tears, and is probably a good actress because two seconds after she found out I was going to be the tree she was all smiles, because I am not a tattletale-type person. But I will say that I do not like her even one tiny bit, and that when she is not doing her acting, her true self is a Big Meanie!

Mom said I was a great tree even though I didn’t get to say anything and Mr. Franks kept whispering at me to stop moving my arm branches around so much—he didn’t think it should be a windy day. But if you are a tree it is boring to stand there super still with your arms out on each side doing nothing.

I did not get to be in the talent night at school and show off the photos I took with my new camera because I was sick with the stomach flu and was throwing up.

Aurora Gambit won a first-prize blue ribbon for her photos of flowers, which were okay, but my cat photos are way better and would have for sure taken her first-prize ribbon right away. Plus, she could be happy with the second- prize ribbon because it is red and that is one of her favorite colors because she says that red things look good with her orangish hair.

Sammy Stringer got an honorable mention green ribbon for his paintings of dog poop, which is totally unbelievable and gross!

But the biggest I-did-not-get-to-be of my life, ever, happened right at school in front of everybody in the whole third grade class. I did not get to be called Grace, which is an okay thing if your name is Tania or Ruth or Jordan but totally 100 percent unfair if you are me and your name is Grace, which mine is.

I didn’t tell Mom because I knew she’d be mad and call the school, and you can’t have your mom call the school unless something really bad happens, like maybe someone mean pushes you down and it breaks three of your front teeth, or else everybody will think you are a big baby and a complainer. And I am not either of those two things!

There are four girls named Grace in my class. Miss Lois, our new teacher, said, “We’ll have to do something about that. It’s too confusing with all you Graces.”

Then she said, “Grace Wallace, you will be Grace W. Grace Francis can be Grace F., and Grace Landowski can be Grace L.”

Right then Grace L. stood up and said, “Pretty please, Miss Lois, can I be Gracie instead of Grace L.?”

I knew I was next, so I said, “And I want to be just Grace.”

“Perfect,” said Miss Lois, and then she went down the list of everyone’s new names and wrote them in her special book.

“Let’s see, we have Grace W., Grace F., Gracie, and Just Grace.”

Then Grace F. stood up and started waving her arm like a crazy person, trying to get Miss Lois’s attention. She gave me a mean look and said, “How come she gets to be called Grace and I have to be Grace F.?

It’s not fair! I want to be the one called Grace!” Miss Lois seemed a little grumpy that we were still talking about the Grace name thing.

She made a big sigh and said, “You’re right, dear—it’s not fair for anyone to be called Grace, so that’s why Grace Stewart wants to be called Just Grace.”

Both Grace F. and I said “Just Grace?” at the same time.

“That’s weird!” said Grace F.

I tried to tell Miss Lois that she’d made a mistake and that I wanted to be called just Grace, not Just Grace, but she put her hand up in the air and said, “That’s enough, girls. Let’s move on to the three Owens.” And that’s how it happened that I have the stupidest name in the whole class! Or maybe even the whole entire world!