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!

It Waits in the Woods June 26, 2016

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 3:12 pm

No one likes a bully, often not even the bully. However, all Marshall can think about is the “meeting” he is going to have after school, with the school bully – Chad. And by “meeting” he knows Chad is planning to beat him up. So rather than take his usual walk home with his neighbor, Tamaya, Marshall ops for the “short cut” through the woods. At least that is what he tells Tamaya, who is two years younger than he is.

Unfortunately, the short cut doesn’t save Marshall from Chad, who follows him into the woods and then imgresproceeds to do just what he threatened. Tamaya has to intervene and save Marshall by taking a handful of mud and smashing it into Chad’s face. So for Marshall, the humiliation is complete. No only did he NOT escape from Chad, but a younger girl had to save him from getting more beat up! As he wallows in his misery, he doesn’t pay any attention to Tamaya and leaves her as soon as they both get out of the woods.

Tamaya can’t stop thinking about what happened in the woods, especially since the hand the she used to pick up the mud and smash it into Chad’s face seems to be developing some kind of weird rash. She figures it will just go away, but the next day it looks awful and begins to blister and weep blood. Tamaya is beginning to realize that “mud” wasn’t just regular mud. When the school administration lets the students know that Chad is missing, Tamaya gets the horrible feeling he is still trapped in the woods, suffering because of the mud she flung at him.

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar shares the story of three students, all coming together during one horrible event and somehow they manage to help divert an even bigger disaster.

Recommended for students 6th grade and up.


Can you Drown, on Too Much Air? June 9, 2016

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 3:17 pm

imgresAza Ray is struggling – to breath. Every since she was about a year old, and suddenly developed a serious problem with breathing, Aza’s life has seemed an endless series of trips to the E.R. and hospitals, where doctors struggle to figure out what on earth is Aza’s problem. In fact, they can’t find another person alive like her, and have named her condition, after her!

Aza tries as best she can to be “normal,” but seems to fail. She wasn’t supposed to make to 10 let alone almost 16. But here she is, just a few days shy of that big milestone. She has a great family, two supportive parents, a crazy fun younger sister and a great friend, Jason. Jason, who, just like her family, is trying everything possible to keep her living just a little bit longer.

One day at school, not long before her birthday, Aza sees something in the sky that she can’t explain, as much as she’d like to be able to. Her family think it must be the results of all the medications she is taking, but as she talks to Jason about it – he gives her another possible explanation. An explanation that sounds almost as out of this world as what she saw.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley is a new idea in young adult books, and a nice departure from the constant barrage of dystopian literature from the last few years. Aza will captive readers as she searches to understand what really makes a person “fit” in.

Recommended for 8th graders and up.