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!

About Us…the Contributors October 22, 2012

The posters on this blog are teachers and librarians (public and school) who work with students everyday. Most of us work and teach in Downers Grove, IL and currently, are focusing on students in grades 7 and 8 because of our school system. Students from our school (O’Neill Middle School) will periodically be posting as well. Here is a little more about each blogger.

Tasha Squires (contributor name oneilllibrary) – Tasha has been interacting with middle school students since she began working as a public librarian back in 1996. At that time she was the Young Adult librarian, and enjoyed going into the middle schools to booktalk books of all genres. This love of working with middle school students led her to change her career path a bit, and she became a school librarian. Currently, she works as the Teacher Librarian (school librarian) for O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, IL. She is also the author of the professional title Library Partnerships: Making Connections Between School and Public Libraries, 2009.

Bernice Homel (contributor name bhomel) was not always a reader. In her middle school days she never obsessed over any series or authors. It wasn’t until college and diving into young adult literature that she fell in love with reading. Once she became a teacher, she had students in her classes who hated reading. Those students helped change her life and she decided it was going to be her mission to help students find books they would love and be readers. She is currently the reading specialist at O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove. She always reads books with the reluctant reader in mind since she was once one herself.

Lauren Horn (contributor name lhorn) is a middle school Reading and Language Arts teacher. During her middle school and high school years, she admits that she never really connected with the literature that was required in her various classes. However, reading Lois Lowry’s The Giver during a college course changed that. Lauren thoroughly enjoys when the novels and/or texts she reads really make you think and reflect on yourself as an individual. A sucker for a good YA romance/contemporary fiction read, she enjoys getting various recommendations from her students. There is nothing like the thrill of a student sharing their excitement about what they are reading!

Lynette Pitrak (contributor name lpitrak) worked at the Downers Grove Public Library, where her favorite activities were recommending books for teens and planning young adult programs. She currently is working as a school librarian in the Chicago area. In her spare time, Lynette loves to bike, paint, go on long walks with her dog Bernie, and, of course, read!!  She especially loves books with a great sense of place, because then it feels like traveling.

Erin Linsenmeyer works at the Downers Grove Public Library as a children’s librarian/school liaison. She was that girl who would have rather have a book than a Barbie, who finished the library summer reading program in the first week, and who got in trouble one time for tricking someone into buying her the Babysitters Club after her mom thought it was a little too old for her (She was in first grade, sorry Mom!). She likes working in the library because it means she gets to see kids excited about their books, and she loves talking books too! Her favorite books are the types that teach you things, but she’s a sucker for young adult fantasy and graphic novels.


9 Responses to “About Us…the Contributors”

  1. Casper Says:

    Love my job, assisting Tasha at O’Neill. The best part of my job is reading the books so I can review them for the students. BONUS; When a student saids,” Mrs. Casper, I loved the book!”

  2. Joy Kirr Says:

    Our students in 7th grade are blogging about the books they like this year, and I’m putting their reviews on our “shelf” found here: . Please use if you’d like. This shelf is all student-driven!

    • Joy! What a great idea to have the students do reviews. Last year some of our LA teachers used Edmodo to have students comment on books they were reading and the responses were pretty awesome. Thanks for letting us know about your resource. We are hoping to have students post blogs once in a while too!

  3. Would anyone be willing to review my debut novel, Awakening (Hope Trilogy #1)? Synopsis can be found on goodreads or amazon. I would be more than happy to send an ebook copy to anyone who is interested in reading it.

    Thank you very much for your consideration.

  4. Tim Symonds Says:

    Tim Symonds published a paper on the mystery of Einstein’s illegitimate daughter titled ‘A Vital Detail In The Story of Albert Einstein’ ( His Fourth Theory on her fate forms the basis of the new Sherlock Holmes novel –
    Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter

    In late 1903 Albert Einstein’s illegitimate daughter ‘Lieserl’ disappears without trace in Serbia aged around 21 months. As Holmes exclaims in ‘the Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter’, ‘the most ruthless effort has been made by public officials, priests, monks, friends, relatives and relatives by marriage to seek out and destroy every document with Lieserl’s name on it. The question is – why?’

    ‘Lieserl’s fate shadows the Einstein legend like some unsolved equation’ Frederic Golden Time Magazine

  5. Seymour Youngblood Says:

    Hello, I am an author out of Oklahoma and I’ve written several novellas in the juvenile horror genre collectively titled “The Raven Archives” under my pen name Dr. I. Seymour Youngblood. My books (Scream Vacation, The Pretty Girl, & Entomophobia) are intended for grades 5-9 and do NOT contain any adult material. I was inquiring about sending a digital copy of the first in the series “Scream Vacation” for your possible review?

    Thank you and have great day.

    -Dr. I. Seymour Youngblood

  6. Jason Lady Says:


    My name is Jason Lady and I am the author of middle grade adventure novel Monster Problems from publisher Black Rose Writing. I came across your site while searching for websites that focus on middle grade readers.. My book came out December 2019 and with the onset of the pandemic, I’ve found it very challenging to promote my book and connect with parents, teachers, librarians, and readers without the option of in-person book events. I am interested in Monster Problems being reviewed or featured on your site and connecting with your readers.

    Monster Problems is the story of sixth-grader Brad, who makes the mistake of drawing instead of paying attention in class. When Brad’s parents ground him from drawing, his bratty little brother Daley rubs it in. Later that night, Brad is surprised when a mysterious crow delivers a pen to his bedroom window. Missing his beloved drawing and frustrated with his brother, Brad uses the pen to draw a Daley-Destroyer, a giant slimy green creature that he envisions “getting” Daley. To Brad’s surprise, the pen is a magic pen, and the Daley-Destroyer comes to life, just as he imagined it, slime and all, and starts going after Daley! To make things worse, only he and Daley can see it! Can Brad erase his monster problem before it’s too late?

    Monster Problems is a zany adventure story filled with fantastic elements, humor, sibling rivalry, and imagination running amok. It currently has a 4.7 star rating on Amazon, and was accepted to the 2020 Ohioana Library Association Book Festival, and the 2020 Kentucky Book Festival. The ISBN is 978-1684334070 and it is 173 pages. The prequel, Super Problems, comes out December 17 of this year and I am writing a third book. To encourage the creativity of young readers, I ask them to pretend they have the magic pen and what they draw will come to life. They send me their drawings and I feature them on my website and on my social media.

    Please let me know if you need more information or would like to talk further. I am excited for the opportunity to work with you and connect my book with middle grade readers, teachers, librarians, and parents. I can talk to readers about Monster Problems and Super Problems, and I can also share my experiences of becoming an author, and the lessons I learned along the way: The importance of perseverance (It took me 13 years to get Monster Problems published), having a great support team, and taking time to learn your craft.

    Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you!

    Jason R. Lady
    Author of Monster Problems
    Middle grade and YA Fantasy and Sci-fi
    Facebook: JasonRLadyAuthor
    Twitter: JasonRLady
    Instagram: jasonrladyauthor

  7. M.Evangeline Says:

    Liam McPhee and The Thief of Laughter/ Amazon/ we are actively seeking reviews.

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