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Children's Fiction Peer Pressure

Mya's Strategy to Save the World

by (author) Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Tundra Book Group
Initial publish date
May 2020
Peer Pressure, Friendship, Humorous Stories
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7


Twelve-year-old Mya Parsons could save the world and organize her family, if only she had her own cell phone. A Dork Diaries for today's socially conscious middle-grade readers.

Mya Parsons runs her school's social justice club with her best friend, Cleo. Her lifelong desire is to work for the United Nations and change the world, and then bask in all the ensuing adulation. Her more immediate desire is to get a phone, preferably one like Cleo's, with a leopard-print case to match. When her distracted dad and her long-distance mom (temporarily in Myanmar taking care of Mya's grandmother) both say no, no way, and possibly never, Mya launches a campaign to prove herself reliable and deserving. She advertises her babysitting services, takes on more responsibility around the house, and attempts to supervise her sister's skateboarding lessons. Her efforts leave her ego bruised and the kitchen slightly scorched. She's no closer to touch-screen victory, let alone the Nobel Peace Prize she deserves. But all that changes after an accident leaves Mya to take charge--an experience which helps her realize how much she's grown, with or without access to proper communications.

About the author

Tanya Lloyd Kyi claims to be a peaceful and non-threatening person, despite having written three books about fire and one about poison. She has never set a building aflame, handled dynamite, or intentionally poisoned anyone … although a suspicious number of friends did have stomachaches after eating her Christmas party meatballs one year.Tanya writes both fiction and non-fiction, often choosing topics related to science, pop culture, or social history—or a combination of the three. She enjoys combining factual research with intriguing narratives, or the life stories of interesting folks.Tanya began her writing “career” as a poet in high school, producing pages and pages of really bad poems that her mother adored. Her love of writing led to the University of Victoria, where she took creative writing and English. Tanya’s early writing jobs were as a newspaper reporter and brochure writer for the government. She also worked as a dishwasher, busgi

Tanya Lloyd Kyi's profile page


  • Nominated, The Joan Betty Stuchner - Oy Vey! - Funniest Children's Book Award
  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Award
  • Short-listed, Diamond Willow Award
  • Nominated, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Awards (MYRCA) - Sundogs Award
  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award

Excerpt: Mya's Strategy to Save the World (by (author) Tanya Lloyd Kyi)

There are two types of people in the world: those who sleep with tissue boxes on their bedside tables, and those who pick their noses before bed and wipe their boogers on the sheets. I am the first type. My sister, Nanda, is the second.
I know this because (a) we share a bedroom, and (b) my mother once read that kids who get more sleep are more intelligent. Which meant I had to go to bed at 8:30 p.m., the same as Nanda (who is FOUR YEARS younger than I am). It’s practically still light outside, which meant I could see her wipe her snot on her sheets.
And Mom and Dad wonder why I refuse to share a bed with Nanda on vacation. Who would want to share sheets with a known snot-wiper?
On the Saturday night after our second week of school, I was awake for plenty of time to watch Nanda handle her snot, and for a long time after. Mom was away and Dad had a work party to attend, so I was left babysitting. I had been begging them, forever, to stop hiring Joanna from down the street because I was twelve years and three months old, almost a teenager myself, and it was ultra-humiliating to be babysat when I wasn’t a baby and did not need to be sat upon. I was totally up for the job.
It wasn’t easy to supervise my eight-year-old sister, though. At first, I thought Nanda would watch TV and I would call my best friend, Cleo, so we could talk about how Drew cried in the cloakroom at lunchtime after his soccer team lost. But we had hardly started discussing whether Drew was wonderfully sensitive (Cleo’s opinion) or weirdly competitive and a bad sport (my opinion) when, from the corner of my eye, I saw zombies. Nanda was watching a show about dead things with flesh still hanging from them. They were staggering around a city as if that was the best thing dead people could find to do with their time.
Nanda always ruins everything.
After I made her turn off the TV and put on her pajamas, she threw a fit.
“Mya, I’m not making this up,” she said. “There’s something outside the window.”
There was nothing there, of course, but I had to open our bedroom window and yell, “Come and get us, flesh-eating figments of Nanda’s imagination,” before she would believe me. Then I had to stay in our room while she curled up, picked her nose and went to sleep.

Editorial Reviews

On Quill & Quire’s Kidlit Spring Preview 2019, YA, MG, & Non-Fiction
One of CBC’s 29 Canadian Kids Books & YA to Look For in Spring 2019
PRAISE FOR Mya's Strategy to Save the World:
 “For any girl going through life, body, and school changes, especially those interested in social activism.” --Kirkus Reviews

“Mya’s passionate—and often clueless—narration is a thoroughly entertaining rant by an overwrought tween with a big heart. . . . With a slim page count, brisk delivery, and trove of discussable topics, this bodes well for classroom as well as independent reading.” --Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 
“Mya’s passion for social justice means that she informs the reader about certain important global issues . . . [she] has a lot of personality and will be enjoyed by middle-school readers." --Highly Recommended, CM Magazine
“Mya’s witty voice and deep desire for a cell phone will keep tween readers engaged . . . [a] welcome addition to middle grade bookshelves.” --School Library Journal

User Reviews

Mya's Strategy To Save The World

Entertaining with the tiniest hint of romance, a strong sense of humor, and a girl with wonderfully strong opinions.

A phone would make it ever so much easier to spread the word about the causes most dear to Mya’s socially conscious heart, and no cause is more dear than her best friend, who seems to be slipping further and further away with every text. But proving she’s responsible enough to own a cell phone is a tall order when it means minding her pain of a sister, babysitting the most challenging of brothers, and learning to cook recipes from the Myanmar side of her family (there are some recipes included).

Mya’s such an admirable heroine, curious about the world, empathetic to it, she doesn’t just talk, she’s a girl of action, she aspires to a career in the United Nations, yet at the same time she’s insecure when it comes to her bestie branching out with other friends, and it takes Mya some time to understand that having a partner in a school project means actually letting someone else do their share and have their say, and sometimes she needs reminders of just how much she loves her little sister. In other words, Mya is lovably, relateably, imperfect and ever so easy to like.

With Mya so aware of injustices, I thought the author struck just the right note here in conveying some ills of the world without bogging down the story or overwhelming readers with information, and it’s delivered with an encouraging message, that even if you can’t do something that makes a big, immediate change, the smallest efforts matter, they make a difference, too.

Overall I just really enjoyed this, Mya could have come off as whiny for how much she pestered her parents for a phone, instead she’s this good-intentioned but flawed kid, you feel her pain, especially in the awkward moments (her period, feeling left out, dealing with a boy), and then there’s little skateboarding sister Nanda, if you loved Kitty in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, you’ll love Nanda, they’re cut from a similarly feisty cloth, and her ingenious shin pad solution made me smile.

I received this book through a giveaway.

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