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!

It Starts with Fire October 17, 2022

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

download-8Things are changing in India in 1857. But it turns out, not fast enough for Meera. She longs to learn to read and write like the boys her father teaches, but she knows that isn’t something that her father approves of for girls. In fact, Meera is getting ready to go off and be with her husband, a boy named Krishna when she turns 13 in just a few days. She has been married to him since she was a little girl, but will go join his family now that she is older. Her parents believe in a fringe practice called sati, where if a husband dies before the wife, the wife will follow him in death by sacrificing herself on his funeral pyre. Meera was young, but she still remembers when her aunt had to do that after her uncle died. Still, she is young and her husband is as well, so she isn’t worried about this.

However, there is unrest in the state of India, and many are rebelling against the control of the East India Company, a British company that had been ruling over India for over a hundred years. Meera’s life gets caught up in that struggle. Can she figure her own way out?

Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame by Supriya Kelkar tells about how Indians began rebelling against British colonization in the mid 1800s. Of course, this is just the beginning of the process which would take another hundred years to see the country fully free. Meera is just a girl living with many of the restrictions and rules that were placed on girls and women, not just in India, but around the world. And, as we know, many of these oppressions still focus on women today.

Recommended for grades 6 and up.


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