New York Times-bestselling author Jocko Willink delivers a second powerful and empowering Way of the Warrior Kid book about finding your inner strength and being the best you can be, even in the face of adversity in Marc's Mission.
About the Author
Jon Bozak is a creative director in NYC where he develops award-winning programs and products in the digital media advertising world. Part of the new breed of multi-tool creatives, he’s a prolific storyteller, designer, analytic problem solver and content developer who loves nothing more than meeting a new creative challenge. In 2008 he authored Demo: The Story of a Junkyard Dog, a modern fable for kids about America’s disposable culture. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his insta-famous, dog 'SmilingBrinks'.
Read an Excerpt
THE PUMPKIN AND THE PRINCIPAL
This year was a really good year — until the last day of school. I ended up in a place I NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN: THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE! Yes, that's right. Me, Mr. Warrior Kid with my Warrior Code got sent to the principal's office! What for, you wonder?
Let me tell you in one word: NATHAN. That's right. I got sent to the principal's office because of Nathan James — a guy with two first names!
Here is the thing with Nathan: He is SUPER ANNOYING. He's always moving. Tapping. Snapping. Shifting. Bouncing his leg. Standing up. Sitting down. He just never stops moving. It is SO ANNOYING.
He is also always making comments and saying things to me and the other kids. Not exactly nice things, either. He calls us names. Mean names. He calls Kenny Williamson "Blockhead." He calls Patricia Johnson "Needle Nose." And he calls me "Plate Face." I don't know why. I don't think I look like a plate!
Okay, maybe my face is a little round, but that doesn't make it okay to call me Plate Face.
And the thing about Nathan is that he says it kind of jokingly but at the same time kind of seriously. So if we told on him, we would seem like tattletales.
Today, we were helping clean the classroom. Some kids were taking down pictures, some kids were clearing out desks, some kids were counting and stacking books. I got put in the group with Nathan, cleaning the art area.
He started in on me right away. "Let's get this cleaned up, Plate Face."
"Don't call me that," I told him.
"Don't call you what, Plate Face?"
"I know you're Plate Face," he said.
I started to raise my voice. "Don't call me that!" I felt my face turning red because I was SO ANNOYED.
"Well, what do you want me to call you?" he said.
"Call me by my name," I answered. I looked at Nathan, and he looked a little scared.
"Okay, fine," he said. I think he realized that he had pushed too far and knew what might happen.
Then he whispered, "Plate Face," and smiled.
I felt my hands clench together. I bit down hard, squeezed my jaw, and started to breathe hard. The more I stood there and thought about it, the madder I got. When Nathan saw that I was getting mad, his smile grew even more. I could feel my face turning redder and redder by the second. Then Nathan chuckled a little bit. He was laughing at my anger! I got so mad that I wanted to explode or scream or throw something at him.
That's when I noticed a bright-orange papier-mâché pumpkin that one of my classmates had made in art sitting right in front of me. It was about the size of a volleyball — and it looked perfect. Without thinking, I grabbed the pumpkin and threw it right at Nathan's head really, really hard. He wasn't expecting it at all, so it hit him square in the face. It hit him so hard that he tripped over a stuffed caterpillar and fell to the ground, knocking over an easel on his way down. It made a GIANT noise, and everyone looked over at us.
This is where it got REALLY BAD. The pumpkin ricocheted off Nathan's head and made a straight shot at our teacher, Ms. Carpenter. Right as she looked to see what the big noise was, it hit her: POW!! RIGHT IN THE FACE! Luckily, it was only papier-mâché, so it didn't hurt her in any way. But it did make her stumble back into her desk and spill her coffee. I had never seen Ms. Carpenter get mad before. And I hope I never see it again. She turned bright red and looked like she was ready to KILL ME!
But instead, her voice got really, really quiet, like a low growl from a crazed animal, and she grumbled, "GET. TO. THE. PRINCIPAL'S. OFFICE. NOW."
I quickly made my way to Principal Forrest's office, and as I did, tears started to roll down my face. I couldn't believe it! It was my last day of school and I was getting sent to the principal's office!
Once I got to the principal's office, his secretary told me to sit down outside his office. I guess I had cried enough, because I started to calm down. Ms. Carpenter walked in a minute later, went straight into Principal Forrest's office without even looking at me, and shut the door behind her.
A few minutes later, she walked out and stopped in front of me. She didn't look that mad anymore. After a few seconds, she said, "I'm disappointed, Marc. Very disappointed."
I started to say something back to her. "But ... I ... it was ..." But she walked away.
Then Principal Forrest called out, "Come on into my office, Marc."
I walked into his office with my head hung low.
"Well?" he said.
"I'm sorry. I just ... I got ... it was ... it was Nathan. He keeps calling me Plate Face. And he has been calling me that the whole year. And today he just kept saying it over and over and over again, even when I asked him not to!"
"And you think that gives you the right to try to hurt him? And to hurt Ms. Carpenter?"
"No, but —"
"Exactly, Marc. NO BUTS. I'm sending you home from school. I'm calling your parents at home to come pick you up."
My heart sank. I couldn't believe this. My mom and dad were going to ground me for the rest of my natural life! Then I realized I might be okay. My dad had gone overseas for his job building a factory; he'd left two weeks ago. He would be gone for the whole summer. Also, my mom had recently started a new job. ... Well, not a totally new job, but a new job at the same place. She got promoted and is now in charge of a bunch of stuff, so she is working a ton now. Most of the time she doesn't get home until well after dinner. Sometimes she even gets home after I'm asleep. So there was no way she would be home today — which was good — because that meant she wouldn't be there to answer this call, and by the time she did get home, school would be over. I was saved!
Principal Forrest's secretary brought in a piece of paper with my home phone number on it. He dialed the number. I knew no one would answer, but I sat patiently. Then, all of a sudden, Principal Forrest spoke. "Hello, I'm looking for Marc's mom or dad?" There was a pause as he listened. "Oh, that's fine. Are either his mom or dad home?"
Who could he be talking to? I thought to myself.
"Oh. Okay. Well, let me tell you the situation: Marc had an outburst in school today. He ended up throwing an object at another student, and it hit both the student and his teacher. I'm sending him home from school so he can think about his behavior. Can you come pick him up?"
I still had no idea who he was talking to.
"Okay. Great. We'll see you in a few minutes. Thank you."
The principal hung up the phone, then looked at me.
"You're going home. Your uncle is coming to pick you up."
I remembered instantly: Uncle Jake had arrived today while I was at school! My mom had invited him to stay with us over the summer and help keep track of me since my dad was gone and she was so busy at work. She had left a key under the mat by the door, and Uncle Jake was at my house, and now he was coming to get me! And he was going to know EVERYTHING.
I started to cry. And it wasn't just because of Nathan or being sent to the principal's office or being sent home from school or even having Uncle Jake know how much trouble I had caused. There were a bunch of other things that were going to make this the worst summer ever. And it was just starting.CHAPTER 2
I was sitting on the bench just outside the principal's office, crying like a little baby. I couldn't believe that this was happening, and I kept whispering to myself over and over again, "I am so stupid. I am so stupid."
It was Uncle Jake's first day in town for summer vacation and he was picking me up from THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE! He did so much for me last summer. He taught me how to swim and how to study, he got me into jiu-jitsu, and he also put me on a good workout program so I could actually do pull-ups. He turned me from a wimpy kid to a Warrior Kid, and this is how I pay him back?!?! By getting in trouble and getting sent home from school?!?!
The more I thought about it, the more I knew how badly I had let him down — and the worse I felt. On top of all that, what kind of punishment was I about to get? Was I going to be grounded for the whole summer? Longer? Maybe until Christmas? Would I even be allowed to celebrate Christmas anymore? And Uncle Jake — was he even going to talk to me now that I had done this?
I put my head in my hands and sat there, crying. Then I heard a familiar voice. "How ya doin', Marc?"
I looked up.
It was Uncle Jake. He didn't even look mad. He didn't look upset. He just looked, well, kind of normal, I guess. But I didn't feel too normal.
"Not good, Uncle Jake. Not good," I told him, tears running down my face.
"All right. Well. Let's get you out of here and then you can tell me what's going on."
Uncle Jake stepped into the principal's office and shut the door. I could hear them talking, but I couldn't hear what they were saying. A couple of minutes later, Uncle Jake walked out.
"Come on," Uncle Jake said. "Take me to Ms. Carpenter's room."
"But I'm supposed to go home," I told him.
"Not until you say sorry to Ms. Carpenter and Nathan."
"But I got kicked out —"
"The principal called the classroom. Nathan and Ms. Carpenter will be waiting outside."
"But Nathan is the whole reason this happened," I protested.
"No, he's not. You can't blame other people for the things that you do. You are the reason. You lost your temper. You lost control. Because of that, you made a bad decision. Now you are going to apologize, and you better mean it. Then I will take you home. Got it?"
"Yes, Uncle Jake, I got it."
As soon as we turned the corner down the hallway, I could see Ms. Carpenter and Nathan standing alone outside the classroom. I held my head down in shame. When we got close enough, we stopped in front of them.
"Go ahead," Uncle Jake said.
I looked up at Ms. Carpenter. I felt horrible. I really was sorry that I hit her with the pumpkin, so I told her that. "I'm sorry, Ms. Carpenter."
"Okay, Marc. I am really disappointed, but I accept your apology. Don't let it happen again."
"I won't, Ms. Carpenter. I promise." Then I glanced at Nathan. He had a little smirk on his face. I didn't want to say I was sorry to him — why would I? He was the whole reason I was there!!
"And?" said Uncle Jake.
I stood there. This was AWFUL! I had to either apologize to my worst enemy for something he made me do, or not do what my uncle Jake — the best uncle in the world — was telling me to do.
Uncle Jake followed up sternly, "Marc. Go ahead and apologize."
This was one of those situations where I realized Uncle Jake was going to get me to do what he wanted me to do WHETHER I LIKED IT OR NOT!
So I swallowed hard, looked at the ground, and mumbled, "I'm sorry."
"What?" said Uncle Jake. "Louder."
There was no getting around this. And I figured I was in big enough trouble anyway. So I took a deep breath, looked Nathan in the eyes, and said, "I'm sorry, Nathan."
Nathan's smirk turned into a smile, and he said, "I bet you are —"
He'd barely finished those words when Ms. Carpenter cut him off quickly. "Nathan James, you cut it with that attitude and accept Marc's apology. NOW."
He knew he could get in trouble, too, so he stepped back, looked up at me, and said, "Apology accepted, Marc." It didn't sound very convincing, but it was enough for Ms. Carpenter, who then put her arm around Nathan, thanked Uncle Jake, and guided Nathan back into the classroom.
Once Nathan was in the classroom, Ms. Carpenter bent down and looked me in the eyes. "You are better than that, Marc. At least, you should be." She looked really disappointed in me, and I felt like I'd really let her down. Then she turned, walked into the classroom, and shut the door.
"Come on, Marc," Uncle Jake said as he spun around and headed toward the exit. "Let's get you out of here." We walked down the corridor, out the door, through the courtyard, and into the parking lot without saying a word. I didn't think Uncle Jake would ever talk to me again. This summer was getting worse by the minute!CHAPTER 3
I walked slowly to the car and got in. Uncle Jake started the car and began driving. Then he said quietly, "So what happened, Marc?"
Uncle Jake's voice kind of calmed me down. I thought he would be mad at me, but instead it seemed like he was just trying to understand what happened.
"I threw a papier-mâché pumpkin at Nathan James. It hit him in the face, then it hit Ms. Carpenter in the face."
Uncle Jake kind of smiled — I didn't expect that — and then he said, "I know that part, Marc. The principal already told me. What I'm asking is why did that happen? Why did you do it?"
"Because Nathan is annoying! Really annoying!"
"So do you throw a papier-mâché pumpkin at every person that annoys you?" he asked.
"No. I don't," I said back.
"Then what made you do it this time?"
"He kept calling me Plate Face!"
"Yes! Plate Face."
Uncle Jake laughed. HE LAUGHED!
"It's not funny!" I told him.
"It's kind of funny," he said.
"I DON'T LOOK LIKE A PLATE!" I told Uncle Jake.
"You do have a pretty round face," Uncle Jake said.
"NO I DON'T!" I told him. And when I told him this, I have to admit ... I was kind of yelling. I was really mad. REALLY MAD.
"Rounder than most faces, I mean. You've seen your face, right? In a mirror?" Uncle Jake asked me, still laughing a little bit. I couldn't believe this! Uncle Jake was agreeing with Nathan James and saying I ACTUALLY WAS A PLATE FACE. Tears started to flow down my face again. I could feel my blood begin to boil.
"YES, I'VE SEEN MY FACE IN A MIRROR BEFORE, AND I DON'T LOOK LIKE A PLATE!" I yelled. I couldn't stop myself from screaming. It was like the whole world was against me — even my hero, Uncle Jake.
Suddenly, Uncle Jake pulled the car over to the side of the road, put it into PARK, and said, "Look at your face right now and tell me what you see." Then he flipped down the visor of the car and pointed the mirror at my face.
I looked in the mirror. "I don't see a plate face!" I barked at Uncle Jake.
"Okay. Then what do you see?" he asked.
I sat and looked at myself. My face didn't look like a plate, but it was bright red. My cheeks were covered in tears. My nose even had slime running out of it!
"What do you see? Really. Look at yourself and tell me what you see," Uncle Jake asked again.
I looked at myself. The tears. The runny nose. The red face. I knew exactly what I looked like. So I told Uncle Jake.
"A baby. I look like a big baby."
Uncle Jake smiled and nodded. "And why do you think you look like a big baby?"
I knew exactly where Uncle Jake was going with that question. And I knew exactly what the answer was. So I told him. "Because I'm acting like one?"
Uncle Jake nodded his head. "I'd say that is a pretty good answer. What does a baby act like?"
"Well, they get mad and frustrated and they scream and cry and throw things."
"Ah ... yes. They get frustrated and they scream and cry and throw things. That sounds familiar," Uncle Jake said with a knowing look on his face. "But do you know why they do that?"
"Because they get mad or frustrated?"
"But everyone gets mad and frustrated. Those are called emotions. Anger. Sadness. Frustration. And there are good emotions, too, like happiness and excitement.
But here is the thing: Babies can't control their emotions. They don't know how. So they scream and cry. And that's what you just did. You acted like a baby. Warriors have to keep control over their emotions. Especially over something as silly as someone calling you a name."
"Well ..." I realized there were a lot of other things I needed to tell Uncle Jake. You see, it wasn't just Nathan James who was making me frustrated. There were a bunch of things that had been bothering me, and I was just starting to realize it. But I didn't know how to tell Uncle Jake.
"'Well' what?" Uncle Jake asked.
"I ... I just ..." I didn't know how to explain everything in a way that would make sense.
"You 'just' what?"
"There are some other things that are bothering me, too."
"Like what?" Uncle Jake asked. I wondered if I should tell Uncle Jake, but I figured that since he helped me last summer, maybe he could help me this summer, too. "Just tell me," Uncle Jake said.
"Okay, here goes. The first thing that is bothering me is this summer. I was ready for a nice summer, a break from school, hanging out with my friends, and being able to do some workouts with you. But a bunch of things happened, and now it seems like summer is ruined. First of all, I have to go to a dumb camp this summer. Only it isn't even a camp, and it isn't even camping. It's just in the recreation center, and we're supposed to be doing physical education and also reviewing math and spelling and a bunch of other school stuff. So it's basically school in the summertime! And if that isn't bad enough, it turns out that Nathan James is doing it, too! The one kid I despise! It would be a little better if I had a new bike to get there. But my mom won't get me a new bike. I even took her to the bike shop to see the best bike ever — The Bentlee. I thought maybe when she saw it in all its beauty, she would get it for me. NOPE! She has no soul!"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Way of the Warrior Kid Marc's Mission"
Copyright © 2018 Jocko Willink.
Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
The Warrior Kid Code,
Chapter 1: The Pumpkin and The Principal,
Chapter 2: Apologies,
Chapter 3: The Mirror,
Chapter 4: My Problems,
Chapter 5: Earn It,
Chapter 6: Trouble Again,
Chapter 7: Red Flares,
Chapter 8: Business Owner,
Chapter 9: The Last Resort,
Chapter 10: Uncomfortable,
Chapter 11: The Feeling of Freedom,
Chapter 12: Old Shoes,
Chapter 13: Consistency,
Chapter 14: Lazy Day,
Chapter 15: A Different World,
Chapter 16: The Real Plate Face,
Chapter 17: The Bruiser,
Chapter 18: It Really Works,
Chapter 19: Help,
Chapter 20: Junkyard,
Chapter 21: A Great Day,
Chapter 22: Win or Learn,
Chapter 23: The Code,
Chapter 24: The Leader,
The Warrior Kid Code,
Also by Jocko Willink,
About the Author and Illustrator,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Every child should read these books. They are fantastic.