Ms. Beatrice Hempel, English teacher, is new - new to teaching, new to her school, newly engaged, and newly bereft of her devoted father. Overwhelmed by her newness, she struggles to figure out quite what is expected of her - in life and at work. Is it acceptable to introduce swear words into the English curriculum, enlist students to write their own report cards, or bring up personal experiences while teaching a sex-education class? Or not? Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum finds her characters at their most vulnerable, then explores those precarious moments in sharp, graceful prose. Ms Hempel Chronicles takes the reader on a journey down the rabbit hole to the wonderland of middle school, memory, daydreaming, and the extraordinary business of growing up.