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. If you would like to listen to booktalks of some of these books, please check out this site and enjoy!

Mysteries Revealed….by some of your favorite authors January 15, 2013

I have loved the book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick both as a reader and as a teacher since I found it almost 10 years ago.  It has actually been around since 1984, but I didn’t find it until I was an adult.  The pictures, that are presented with just a title and one line of text, can get anyone imagining the possibilities.  Then, when you add in the mysterious story of the pictures being left at the publisher without any further contact the mind reels!

Now, I am truly happy with the book only containing pictures, a title, and one line of text; however, I just came across the Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg which now has a short story to go with each of the illustrations.  The stories are written by all well known authors including; Stephen King, Sherman Alexie, Walter Dean Myers, and Lois Lowry, among others.  These are some of my favorite authors.  I loved reading their version of the story, but because I have looked at these pictures so many times their stories did not become THE STORY, but just another version.  In some cases, I even like my own stories better!

So, if you love Harris Burdick, this is definitely a book worth picking up.  If you haven’t seen the original yet, start there.  Write your own versions.  Tell stories.  Use your imagination and have fun.  Then, get the chronicles.  How did your imagination compare to that of some of the top authors today?  I hope, that like me, you don’t just accept one version as THE STORY because the Mysteries of Harris Burdick can never be completely revealed!


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