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Zero Tolerance

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  547 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Seventh-grader Sierra Shepard has always beenthe perfect student, so when she sees that she accidentally brought her mother's lunch bag to school, including a paringknife, she immediately turns in the knife at the school office.Much to her surprise,her beloved principal placesher in in-school suspension and sets a hearing for her expulsion, citing the school's ironclad no ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,081)
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Jenny Sawyer
I really wanted to like Zero Tolerance. I was ready to like it. I tried to like it. And then…I just couldn’t like it.

Normally, I’m a huge fan of Claudia Mills’ stories—especially her stories about underdogs. So maybe that’s the first thing that went wrong for me: Sierra Shepard, at least when we first meet her, is not an underdog. She’s actually kind of intolerable: persnickety, and an uber-good girl who looks down her nose at those she perceives to be the bad kids.

But the tables are soon to be
Richie Partington
Richie's Picks: ZERO TOLERANCE by Claudia Mills, Farrar Straus Giroux, June 2013, 240p., ISBN: 978-0-374-3312-6

"Goody two goody two goody goody two shoes
Goody two goody two goody goody two shoes"
-- Adam Ant

"Sierra opened the Velcro flap on her lunch bag. Hungry or not, she'd better eat something, or her stomach might start rumbling in French class, right as she was sitting next to Colin.
"She opened her sandwich and was about to take the first bite when she looked at it more closely. It was ham a
Claudia Mills stops by Pass the Chiclets for an interview and a giveaway! :D

I received this ARC before the pub date, obviously, and I let it fall by the wayside--something I regret immensely now, because holy freaking goodness this book is good.

Claudia Mills absolutely nails the voice. Sierra is a perfect student, yes but she's also eminently relatable and simply wonderful to read about. Her third-person point-of-view never feels distanced; it almost feels like a first-person narration, which in
Ms. Yingling
Sierra Shepherd is a rule follower and an excellent student. When she realizes that she has inadvertently taken her mother's lunch to school, and that there is a paring knife in the bag, she immediately turns it in to the harried lunch lady. Her friends have told her she should have stayed quiet, but that wouldn't have been the right thing to do. Once Sierra gets to the office, she has to deal with the secretary, Ms. Lin, and the principal, Mr. Besser. Mr. Besser is spouting off to a visiting pr ...more

First Thoughts
I love the whole premise behind this book! Plus I’m a new lover of all thing Middle Grade so Zero Tolerance was at the top of my list of Must Reads!

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book! I loved that Zero Tolerance explored the blurred lines of what it right, what is wrong, and what is fair. I love that this shows that there is no black and white, there is a gray area.

Sierra Shepard is your average goody-goody seventh grader. She makes straight A’s, she has great friends and p
Honor student Sierra is the kind of girl who will go to the Principal's office to suggest a new club. So when she accidentally takes her mom's lunch and finds a paring knife in it, she immediately goes lets school staff know. And finds herself facing expulsion because of the school's zero tolerance rules.

Unlike so many books, Sierra's parents are prominently featured as involved parents. Sierra's lawyer dad is determined to force the school to use common sense. Sierra's artist mom, on the other
Melissa Delatorre
Don't you ever hate when you get in trouble for something that you didn't do? I do, so this time i will tell you about a girl who gets expeled for something that her mom did. The genre is realistic fiction. I thought this was a good book.

It takes place at Sierra's school. This is a book about a girl named Sierra shepard a 7th grader who is a perfect student who wanted to know why there was a knife in her lunch box but she didn't want to get in trouble for accidentally bringing it to school. So
Jun 02, 2015 Elise rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle schoolers

No, like seriously, the whole story was pretty dull and boring.

Sierra Shepard is the perfect student, but one day, when she accidentally brings her mother's lunch bag to school instead of her own, she finds a paring knife inside. Being the good girl she is, Sierra turns it in at the office, and intends to go back to class, but to her surprise, the principal sends her to in-school suspension and arranges a hearing for her expulsion.

I'm not really sure what I want to say about this book.
Mary Ronan Drew
Seventh-grader Sierra Shepard is an all-A student, chosen for the school's elite choir, a student leader, beloved on the principal, Mr Besser. So when she discovers she has brought her mother's lunch to school instead of her own and that there is a paring knife in the bag to cut the apple her mother has included, she immediately takes the knife to the head of the cafeteria and explains that she has accidentally broken a school rule. No knives.

The inflexible cafeteria head takes Sierra and the kn
I completely identified with Sierra - the conscientious student who always tries to do what is right. I think that's what made it almost stressful to follow the events in the story!

I liked how relevant it is to today - I can easily see this happening. Zero tolerance policies have been used to punish kids for really dumb things. I liked that she made a really bad choice along the way, and I like how she handled the fall out from her choices.

The only thing that I see as a downside in this book is
Emily (Book Jems)
There are few middle grade stories that really capture my interest, as I'm an avid romance fan, but something about Zero Tolerance really just spoke to me. Maybe it's because I'd never read a book that brought this topic up and looked at it from a student's point-of-view, or maybe it's because even from the summary, I saw a lot of myself in Sierra's character.

Sierra Shephard is up for expulsion from her school for bringing a paring knife in her lunchbox. Sierra is completely torn up about this a
Amy Fournier
My Thoughts

The synopsis of this story intrigued me. I understand the seriousness of the issue at hand, but it seemed a little excessive to me to think that this student who has never done anything wrong, and even turns in the knife when she realized the mistake, should face expulsion. Not to worry though, the way that this book is done it makes sense. With a zero tolerance policy in the school, it doesn't matter if it was an accident or even that she turned it in. The fact that she brought it to
Jenni Arndt
After reading a few mindless middle grade books that were purely for fun and to pass the time it was nice to pick up Zero Tolerance and delve into a story with strong characterizations and an important message for young readers. We are quickly thrown into Sierra Shepard’s life where being a leader at school and getting A’s are the most important things. We also get to meet a host of really great secondary characters and learn a little something along the way.

Right off the bat I was really happy
A well-written, thoughtful yet funny, and highly-topical MG novel.

'As a member of the Leadership Club and an honor student at Longwood Middle School, Sierra Shepard helped create the banner announcing its creed: "Rules Respect Responsibility Reliability." The school has established an ironclad zero-tolerance policy on weapons, but when Sierra accidentally takes her mother's lunch bag to school, she finds it contains a paring knife. A loyal rule-follower, the seventh grader turns the knife in to
i read this because it is a virginia readers' choice book for this school year. i wasn't really excited about reading it. it didn't take long to get into it. (i read it in one day.) i really liked the main character, sierra, and it was easy to see how her mistake got blown way out of proportion due to the school's zero tolerance policy. sierra's dad reminded me of my husband, so that was fun! i liked getting to know the "bad boy" and seeing the relationship between him and sierra develop during ...more
Estefany Ibarra
Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you brought to school by mistake? Well if you have then this I a good book for you to read. The genre of this book is realistic fiction. In my opinion I think this is a really good book to read.
The setting of this book is in Longwood Middle School. When Sierra and her friends go to lunch sierra finds out that she took her moms lunch box by mistake so when she opens it she sees a knife in the lunch box. She then goes up to the lunch lady and the lu
Sierra Shepherd is the stereotypical good girl in every way and a reliable student leader at her middle school. At lunch one day she discovers a small paring knife inside her lunch bag. Realizing that she had mistakenly grabbed her mom’s lunch by mistake, she asks her friends what she should do and they urge her to put the knife back in the bag and move on. However, rule-follower Sierra turns the knife over to one of the lunch ladies, as the school has a zero tolerance policy concerning weapons. ...more
Is doing the right thing always the right thing to do? Sierra Shepherd is a model student. She gets good grades, is in the school leadership group, and sings in a select choir. She knows the rules and is not one to break them. In a hurry one day, she grabs her mom's lunch bag in error and realizes the mistake when she opens the bag to find a knife and an apple inside. Knowing the school's zero tolerance policy means no weapons of any kind in school, Sierra does what she thinks is the right thing ...more
Sierra Shepard, a gifted and talented 7th grade honor student is driven to perform to the highest standards which follow her school's motto of "RULES, RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, and RELIABILITY". She is enrolled in all accelerated classes, is a member of the Leadership Club, and a talented choral member of The Octave. But, all of that changes in the blink of an eye when, believing she is 'doing the right thing' by turning in a paring knife that was mistakenly included in her lunch bag, a Zero Tole ...more
The Styling Librarian
Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills - Fiction, 5th grade and up (a few carefully placed b-words and a little more that reminded me of Esme Codell’s Sahara Special) – Just loved reading about the dilemma and reaction of student, her classmates, her teachers/administration and parents when Sierra, seventh grader, accidentally brings her mom’s lunch bag to work and pulls out her mom’s paring knife at the lunchroom table. Thinking she was doing the right thing, she quickly brings the knife to the office ...more
Lauren B
Seirra Shepard is the perfect student. So when she accidentally brings her mothers identical to hers lunch box to school, she is shocked to see a paring knife ot cut the apple. She does the right thing and turns it in to the secritary immedeatly. Since she does the right thing, she expects it to be shrugged off. It's not. The principle puts her into an in-school suspension. Her Dad is a lawyer and fights hard for her case. Like country fame hard. There in suspension she starts a whole new chapte ...more
Ann Haefele
7th grader Sierra has mistakenly brought a knife to school. She brought her mother's lunch instead of hers and inside was a small knife to pare an apple. Sierra does the right thing and turns the knife in to the principal. But because her school has a zero tolerance policy for knives, Sierra is put into suspension awaiting a ruling on expulsion. The beauty of this story is watching Sierra turn from a "zero tolerance" type of girl into somebody who can see both sides of a situation and develops e ...more
This is a beautiful book! It is about justice and mercy and the fallibility we all have as part of our personalities. The story is believable and compelling. It would be a great character discussion starter. I love that the lesson in the end is that we all make mistakes and perhaps grace is more important than justice.

There are also great lessons about friendship and judging people. Sierra gets stuck in a suspension room with a bunch of hardened criminals. Well, at least she used to think they w
I really liked this realistic fiction WAW possibility! Sierra takes her mom's lunch to school by mistake since she and her mom have the same lunchbag. Unfortunately her mom had packed an apple and small knife to cut it with. When Sierra turns in the knife right away, she is suspended due to the zero tolerance policy. She is an honor student and has never been in trouble before so as she gets to know the other kids in suspension, she learns a lot about them as well as the administrators dealing w ...more

I`ve always thought those `zero tolerance` policies where a kid doing something reasonably innocent is persecuted because of the RULES were ridiculous. This book tells that story. Sierra Shephard is a goody good honour roll student who one day takes her mom`s lunch by mistake and discovers a small knife in it. She immediately turns it in because she feels that`s the right thing to do - she knows the rules. As a result of a zero tolerance policy she finds herself facing expulsion.
I liked that the
Lisa Shafer
Cute little story for tweens approaching middle school. Pretty good character development for an MG novel.
What sticks with me, though, is the author's mistake about Anne Frank. To emphasize the feeling of entrapment the protagonist has while she's serving out a week of detention, Mills has her read Anne Frank's diary. Eventually, the girl is saddened by Anne's death, which according to Mills, was in Auschwitz. But it wasn't; it was Bergen-Belsen. I knew that, and I haven't read Anne Frank in yea
The preface of the book was very interesting, a 7th grade honor student finds herself facing expulsion for accidentally bringing her mom's lunch (containing a paring knife) to school. The school has a zero tolerance policy, and while the principal is deeply sorry, but he must adhere to it. What a great story for kids to read and wrestle through. As the story continued, there were some things I didn't like: language, a lawyer dad, the way independent schools were characterized,and some actions th ...more
Sierra accidentally brings her mother's lunch to school instead of her own. The bag contains a knife for peeling an apple. When she discovers this at school, she turns it in immediately and that's when the trouble starts. Because of the school's zero tolerance policy, the principal feels he has no choice but to suspend Sierra pending an expulsion hearing. This doesn't sit well with her attorney father and the battle lines are drawn. Soon reporters are following Sierra's story, her classmates are ...more
Interesting changes occur when the "perfect" student is treated like the "juvenile delinquents" because of an honest mistake.
This one reminds me of Andrew Clements book Frindle in a way. I liked it about the same. The writing was fine, it was the premise that was most interesting. I think it is good to show kids that there are gray areas to lots of rules and it is difficult to make something full-proof. I think I got frustrated with half-told plot points. I actually feel like the Colin part of this story wasn't even necessary. There were situations that occurred that seemed to be included only to add more to the drama ...more
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UAPL Youth and Te...: Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills 7 10 Jul 09, 2015 02:18PM  
Summer Library Club 2015 1 2 Jul 06, 2015 02:56PM  
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Claudia Mills is the author of How Oliver Olson Changed the World, 7 x 9 = Trouble!, Being Teddy Roosevelt, and many other books for children. She was born in New York City in 1954. She received her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College, her master's degree from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University. She also received an M.L.S. degree from the University of M ...more
More about Claudia Mills...
How Oliver Olson Changed the World Kelsey Green, Reading Queen Lizzie at Last Being Teddy Roosevelt The Totally Made-up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish

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