Books in the Middle: Reading for Middle School

Our focus is on books middle school students might like to read and topics pertaining to books for these students, and we are giving recommendations. Teachers, librarians and middle school students are the contributors to this blog. Enjoy!

Woman For Humane Treatment of Animals March 23, 2017

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 2:46 pm

As a young child, nothing made sense for Temple Grandin. She couldn’t understand people talking to her, she couldn’t look people in the eye, and sounds and clothing could make her very uncomfortable. She wasn’t able to express any of this to the people around her, which led her to throw tantrums which further confused everyone. At the age of three she was diagnosed with Autism, a hardly known disorder at the time, which maimgresde many things others took for granted, very difficult for Temple. She worked hard and with the help of her mother, she was able to begin to understand the world around her, although some things still are a mystery to her to this day.

As she grew, she realized she had an affinity for understanding animals and what could provoke fear in them.  She spent time on her aunt and uncle’s farm in Arizona, riding horses, working with cattle, and designing and fixing things for them. In time, she became very interested in how she could improve the lives of animals heading to slaughter and began working with places to make the end of the lives of animals better.

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery is an honest look at how Grandin impacted the world of farm animals and in the process changed how we look at the end of life for them.

Recommended for any animal lovers and anyone who consumes meat, to see how our life decisions impact others. Grades 7th and up.

 

 

See You in the Cosmos March 20, 2017

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng is an AMAZING novel told from the perspective of a space-loving eleven year old (who explains he is thirteen in maturity years :)). Alex Petroski loves space, and his idol is Carl Sagan. Just as Carl Sagan launched the Voyager Golden Records, which contain sounds and pictures of life on Earth, into space, Alex plans to lauSee You in the Cosmosnch his Golden iPod. This iPod contains Alex’s narration of his daily life, and he searches for people to interview who can explain the beauties and intricacies of what it means to be human for the alien life forms who will find his iPod after he launches it. This book follows Alex’s determination to build a rocket which will launch his iPod, his quest to find a “man in love” to interview, and his desire to unravel the mystery of why there is a record of a man with his deceased father’s same name and birthday living in Las Vegas. What follows is a roadtrip of epic proportions that will stay with you long after you close this book’s pages. Highly, highly recommended for any fans of realistic fiction!!!

 

 

A Life In Poems March 3, 2017

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles,Novels in Verse — oneilllibrary @ 12:43 pm

Born a slave in 1864, his mother and he were stolen from the white couple who owned them. Little George was recovered but not his mother, so he and his older brother were raised for a time by the white couple who clearly cared deeply for them. Later they sent George and his brother to get an education.

For many years George worked hard and traveled far to learn as much as he could about life and many living things. He was amazing at laundry, because he’d figured out how to clean things well! He was able to tell people huge amounts of information about many plants and what they could be used for.

imgres-1Eventually, he was able to get his master’s degree and began working as a professor at Tuskegee Institute where he made incredible works of art as well as improved the lives of farmers over and over again with his techniques. His introduction of the peanut as a way to improve the lives of former slaves and the soil in the south was a brilliant stroke to better the lives of many.

Carver: a life in poems by Marilyn Nelson is a difficult read at times and at turns very poignant as we get a glimpse into the private and often lonely life of George Washington Carver, undeniably one of America’s greatest scientific minds.

Recommended for 8th grade and up due to high level of inferencing and vocabulary.

 

Many Wanted Hitler Gone February 27, 2017

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 10:34 am

One of the most surprising things about this book for me was just how early many high imgresofficials in the German government wanted Hitler gone or stopped. However, Hitler was very quick to put down anyone who spoke out against him and because of this, many plots had to go “underground.”

An area that doesn’t get much discussion in history classes is the role that the Church could have taken in trying to halt the progression of Hitler’s regime. A man named Dietrich Bohnoeffer was very aware that if the Church came out against Hitler’s policies of discrimination against Jews and others, it was possible that the general population would have followed suit and made things more difficult for Hitler and his men. Dietrich brought this concern to the Church leadership’s attention time and again. However, his pleas fell on deaf ears. This dismayed Dietrich so much that he even went as far as to start his own Church.

Interestingly, most of Dietrich’s family became involved in a plot to remove Hitler from his position as early as 1938. In fact, as a pastor, one of his brother-in-laws came to him with the moral question, was it okay to commit murder if it was to kill someone like Hitler? This was a question that Dietrich, as a pacifist, wrestled with. He believed that the work of Gandhi in India was the way to defeat Hitler and the Nazis. However, others believed that nonviolence methods could not work against Hitler. Finally, Dietrich came to the same realization and joined his one brothers and two of his brother-in-laws in their secret plot to assassinate Hitler.

The Plot to Kill Hitler by Patricia McCormick is a fast paced thriller in a nonfiction package. As readers we find out at the beginning of the book that Dietrich and much of his family were caught in their plot to kill Hitler and executed, however, the amount of times that Dietrich could have saved himself but stayed his course were numerous. The tragedy of their family is that most of them were killed within a few weeks of the end of the war.

Recommended for anyone who is fascinated by World War II, Hitler, or what life was like in Germany during that time period. Grades 7 and up should enjoy this title.

 

The Power to Kill? February 22, 2017

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 3:04 pm
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This latest from Neal Shusterman imagines a world where human beings have conquered everything– the lack of environmental issues, disease, old age, accidents and poverty means people are literally living in a world without death. However, the Earth’s capacity to sustain human life has not increased, and without any natural deaths, the mortality rate must be stabilized… and this is the duty of the Scythes. To be chosen as a Scythe is an honor, as well as a huge responsibility. They are charged with “gleaning” the population– killing individuals to keep the population size stable. Highschoolers Citra and Rowan are both chosen as apprentice scythes, handpicked to be killers because of their morality and compassion. As they are soon to discover, though, not all Scythes have retained their sense of goodness and integrity. Can Citra and Rowan survive intense training, lies, secrets, and deep betrayal during their year as apprentices? And even if they can… what will happen once they are initiated? This newest by Neal Shusterman is a brilliant, action-packed book which questions what makes us human, and what meaning is contained in a life with no death.

 

A Father Changes Everything

Connor understands that his father is very depressed after the death of his mom. What he doesn’t realize is that his dad is thinking about a lot of things. It turns out that when his mother died, she left him with something that shook the foundation of Connor’s father’s life. In a letter, Connor’s grandmother tells his dad that the man he thought was his father all thes9780803733053e years wasn’t. At least not biologically. Turns out that when she was in Italy during World War II she met an American pilot and he is really Connor’s father’s dad.

When Connor’s dad shares this news with the rest of the family they react quite well. However, it is the ring and set of wings that came with the letter that captivate Connor and his dad’s interested. Could these be the key to finding out more about Connor’s biological grandfather? And is this something they should be digging into? What if it leads them down a path they realize they aren’t quite ready to tread?

American Ace by Marilyn Nelson is a quick and powerful read about a family coming to terms with learning biology can be a powerful thing, but not everything. And what if you find out something that you didn’t expect?

This is a great novel in verse story. I loved how the information was interwoven and felt the reactions to the revelations were authentic to real life. Recommended for mature 6th graders and up.

 

Not Much of a Secret February 14, 2017

Filed under: Humor,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 1:56 pm

Could life be any worse? Lincoln doesn’t think so. I mean, how many kids have to go to imgrestheir parents work after school? And how much worse that his mom works in a crazy home, or AKA – old folks home – or AKA a nursing home for dementia patients? Plus, Lincoln is having to deal with moving to a new school and a new apartment and having to deal with the school bus, which all pose their own problems.

Even though Lincoln has a lot to deal with, he moves through life with a journal in his backpack and lots of stories in his head. If he can only stay out of the way of Troy (who makes his life a misery on the bus) and Kandy Kain (seriously that is her name – a girl who won’t leave him alone at school) and various residents at Brookside Manor (one who periodically likes to take off her clothes!) he might be able to make it through the first months at school.

The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones by Wendelin Van Draanen is a fabulous and funny look at a guy growing up and trying to find his way while staying true to himself. Lincoln begins to realize that while he’s an expert at turning in, he’s missing a lot by not looking outside of himself.

Recommended for 6th grade and up if you are looking for a fun and enjoyable book! Don’t let the boring book cover keep you from picking up this title!