The Encyclopedia of Me

by Karen Rivers

Arthur A. Levine Books
September 2012

Ages 11 – 13 . Grades 6 – 8

Library of Congress: 2011046292

Lexile measure: 760L


Tink Aaron-Martin has been grounded AGAIN after an adventure with her best friend Freddie Blue Anderson. To make the time pass, she decides to write an encyclopedia of her life from "Aa" (a kind of lava--okay, she cribbed that from the real encyclopedia) to "Zoo" (she's never been to one, but her brothers belong there).

As the alphabet unfolds, so does the story of Tink's summer: more adventures with Freddie Blue (and more experiences in being grounded); how her family was featured in a magazine about "Living with Autism," thanks to her older brother Seb--and what happened after Seb fell apart; her growing friendship, and maybe more, with Kai, a skateboarder who made her swoon (sort of). And her own sense that maybe she belongs not under "H" for "Hideous," or "I" for "Invisible," but "O" for "Okay."

Written entirely in Tink's hilarious encyclopedia entries, The Encyclopedia of Me is both a witty trick and a reading treat for anyone who loves terrific middle-grade novels.
Karen Rivers

Karen Rivers writes rich and funny novels for middle-grade readers, young adults, and the occasional grown-up. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with her two children and a noxious-smelling dog. Visit her online at and @karenrivers.


  • "Diminutive, biracial, freckled Isadora “Tink” Aaron-Martin is grounded for most of the summer after an incident with her best friend. She decides to write an encyclopedia, and in spite of the artificiality of the alphabetical format, Rivers has created a warm, funny, fast-paced story about an endearing middle schooler who keeps her cool and sense of humor when events spin out of control. Tink explains her role as the “Peacemaker” in a dysfunctional family whose lives tiptoe around the moods and rages of Tink’s autistic older brother, Seb. As the summer progresses she finds friendship and a tender and diffident love interest in the boy next door, is humiliated in a disastrous photo shoot for a magazine article about families living with autistic children, and becomes good at skateboarding, an activity that replaces the detested ballet classes she has been taking at her mother’s behest. When Seb becomes violent, leaving his twin brother badly hurt, Tink finally decides she has had enough of her peacemaking role. “Z” finds her in the arms of her boyfriend at the Zetroc Prom. Rivers delivers an appealingly heroine in Tink. She is original and authentic, and her story flows easily in spite of the tricky format." - Jane Barrer, School Library Journal starred review


--- - Alaska.
I include the mighty state of Alaska because all encyclopedias need to contain geographical references to look legit. I do not know anything about Alaska, except where it is, which is guaranteed to be north of wherever you are right now.[1] Many types of bears live in Alaska, most of whom would eat you as soon as look at you. Killer whales go there in the summer to eat herring during herring blooms.[2]
There are also a lot of men in Alaska, and almost no women, making it a hot spot for old people who are single and can't believe they forgot to get married and need to find someone ASAP or else risk never being photographed in an unflattering white gown.
I've forgotten where I read that about the glut of single men. It's possible I made it up. If you are using this encyclopedia as a reference to write your school report about Alaska, congratulations! You just got an F.

[1] Unless you are actually IN Alaska, in which case you already know all there is to know about it and can go ahead and skip this entry.
[2](I do watch the Discovery Channel sometimes, so I'm not a total imbecile when it come to actual facts.)

Jacketed Hardcover / Adhesive

ISBN: 9780545310284

256pp. | 5-½ x 8-¼