Project June Bug is written by Jackie Minniti. Her author interview was previously posted. Jackie introduces us to Jenny Bianchi, who is a second year English teacher with a pet parrot, Brutus, who she inherited from her late grandmother. Jenny also has a budding relationship with a fellow teacher, Chris, who not only is crazy about her, but is also a great cook. All aspects of Jenna's life seem to be moving in the right direction until Project June Bug.
"He'd coined the term "June Bug" to describe a student who bugs a teacher so much, he teacher prays for June."
Michael Tayler is a transfer from another school, but much to Jenna's dismay, this is not an ordinary student transfer. Micheal is the son of a technology company CEO, who is unapologetic, rude, defiant, and had bounced around to several different schools.
"Is this room 204? Are you Mrs. Blinky? God, what a dump."
Michael's tardy arrival to homeroom immediately shows Jenna that she has met a match for her fiery Italian temper. Michael quickly becomes Project June Bug. To match his rough demeanor, Michael's file shows failing grades despite a high IQ of 138. Notes from previous teachers show a pattern of disorganization and a lack of motivation. It doesn't take long for Jenna to identify that Michael has an undiagnosed case of ADHD.
After much research, effort, and hard work, Jenna is able to institute a number of strategies to help Micheal with his concentration and with developing positive relationships with other students. He even joins the school newspaper. However, her efforts are met with opposition from other teachers and Michael's parents in addition to putting a strain on her personal relationship. In the blink of an eye, Jenna finds herself going up against a powerful CEO and the school board in order to save her job and reputation. When things start to spiral downhill, will the support of family and friends be enough to save Jenna and Project June Bug?
I found this to be a truly inspiring story of how the determination of one teacher saved the future of a student that was headed down a dark path. I loved that it not only changed Micheal, but also opened up his father's eyes to his own problems and the unrealistic expectations he was putting on his son. I would recommend this book to all teachers as they are likely to come across students with ADHD in their career, as well as parents who may also find themselves struggling to help their child with ADHD.