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The First Rule of Punk

Last updated Sunday, March 3, 2019

Author: Celia C. Pérez
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 425290409
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2019

Synopsis: There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself. The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She'll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

Note to readers:
•  Begin at chapter 5, the first day of school.
•  Alternative is to read the synopsis, and then walk through/read each of the zines. There are 11, each in chapters 1, 5, 6, 9, 12, 14, 17, 24, 30, 32, and 39. The chapter 39 zine explains the first rule of being punk. Then begin at chapter 5, if time permits.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What does the word punk mean?
•  What is your favorite type of music?
•  Malú has to leave her home and move to a different state. How do you think she will feel?


•  Zine: a tribute to someone or something you love
•  Entitled: to give right to; to allow
•  Snarky: grumpy and snappy
•  Semantics: the study of the meanings of words and phrases in language
•  Anthropologist: the study of human races, origins, societies, and cultures

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why do you think the first rule of punk is "Be myself."
•  Did you ever have to move to a different place?
•  How is Malú's attitude toward her dad and mom different?

Craft ideas:
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!
•  Make your own zine by drawing and cutting out pictures of your favorite things or your favorite words. Glue them to a piece of construction paper.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!