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Byline: Kathy Haight
Say you're the parent of a middle-school child.
Wouldn't you love to know what goes on at the lunch table, on the school bus and in the hallways where your kid spends each weekday?
And if you're a middle school kid, wouldn't you love to know what a cool adult learned after spending a year hanging out with kids your age?
Linda Perlstein can give both of you what you want.
Her book, "Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers" (Random House, $13.95), is the story of the year she spent at Wilde Lake Middle School in suburban Columbia, Md.
Armed with the latest research on early adolescent development_and her experience as an award-winning education reporter for the Washington Post_Perlstein got inside the world of sixth- through eighth-graders in her acclaimed and candid book.
"Chillin' " is just out in paperback, with an 11-page discussion guide added.
We talked to the 33-year-old author by phone. Though she has no kids of her own, she learned enough during the research and writing of the book to make her an authority on middle school life.
Here's some of what she had to say.
Q: You've said one reason you wrote the book was you thought adults had "a ways to go in how they dealt with kids this age"_and that adults can make more of a difference than they think in the lives of middle schoolers. What did you learn that might help parents better deal with their kids?
Kids would …