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 http://www.buzzsprout.com/229361 and enjoy!

Everyone Feels Different, Right? December 30, 2019

Filed under: graphic novel,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 pm

Jordan is about to start a new school – and 7th grade. His mom is thrilled that he’s goingdownload to a really great school, with lots of rich kids and lots of learning opportunities. Jordan, he’s not so sure. He knows his dad has his back, but the school he really wants to go to – an art school – doesn’t take students until 9th grade. So his dad tells him to make the best of things for two years, and they can re-evaluate then as a family.

He’s a bit worried there won’t be any other kids like him, but he’s pleasantly surprised to see there is some diversity – a tiny bit more than they (he and his family) had expected. Still, it doesn’t stop one teacher from calling another black kid in class by a former black student’s name! And at first, Jordan thinks he’ll have more in common with one kid, simply because of the color of their skin – however, this turns out not to be the case.

Making friends, good friends, friends he has things in common with, turns out to be both easier and harder than he thought. As the year progresses Jordan has to take a stand both metaphorically and literally at different points.

New Kid by Jerry Craft is a great graphic novel. It is the story of every kid who wants to fit in, yet be themselves at the same time. It shows no matter who we are,  we all worry about being different and yet want to find that sweet place to be ourselves.

Recommended for 6th grade and up.

 

War in the Water December 9, 2019

Filed under: graphic novel,Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

Many of us know a lot about the Civil War, or at least some of the battles that weredownload.jpg fought, some of the main players, and what it was about. But how many of us know names like Will Cushing, John Ericsson, Gideon Welles (A.K.A. Father Neptune) or Gustavus Fox? If you are like me, I didn’t… until I read this book.

When war broke out between the states, it became a main strategy for the Union government to try to squeeze the life out of the South. The way they sought to do this was through a plan called Anaconda. If the South couldn’t get their goods to markets, they had no money to fight a war and no way to get in needed supplies. So how to stop them? But not letting any of their ships out. Of course, the South had a large coastline. Virtually all of the states that seceded from the Union had a coastline. This meant the Union had a lot of water to cover. And when the war began, they had four ships! Yes, just four! They had a shipyard that could make more, but, it was in Virginia and they lost the yard when Virginia seceded. Not only did they lose the shipyard, but their best ship at the time called the Merrimack.

How on earth would the Union be able to  stop the South when they had the shipyards AND the Union’s top ship?

Big Bad Ironclad! by Nathan Hale is a  super fast read and really informative about the battle for the coastline during the Civil War. Highly recommended for its readability as well as just a great story and learning about one of the more daring sailors of the time and the pranks he pulled, and got away with, was great fun.

Recommended for grades 6 and up.

 

Wanted by No One May 20, 2019

Filed under: graphic novel,Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 11:46 am

As the war in Syria began in 2011, many thought that the ruler, president Bashar Al-downloadAssad’s government would fall as other muslim countries had in the Arab Spring uprising that had been sweeping the region in North Africa. But many underestimated Assad’s grip on the country and that he would get military and political support from Russia.  As always it is the civilians who are caught up in any war, and in a civil war, as the country divides, it can be doubly so.

After days of rioting by civilians asking for their rights, Assad’s military forces went after Syrians and began a war that is still raging today (in 2019). Executions and massacres became common and many people were scared. At that point, civilians began leaving their homes in the hopes of a chance to get away from the war. At first, people went to Jordan and Lebanon and others went to Turkey.

To make matters worse, Islamic jihadists began to join the fight against Assad and brought with them their own brand of terror as they forced the communities they invaded to adhere to strict Islamic law. The people of Syria felt they were caught between two forces with no end in sight. By this point, millions of people were forced from their homes by violence or the threat of violence.

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian refugees by Don Brown is a stark look at what happens when a country falls into utter chaos and who ultimately always pays the highest price. The book also looks at how a country falling to pieces has a ripple effect on the whole world as others try to help, or turn away, the victims of the war.

Recommended for 6th grade and up.

 

Smile Book Review by 8th Grader Sydney May 9, 2018

SIn Smile by Raina Telgemeier, a girl named Raina is an 11-years old that was coming home from girl scouts with of her friends. Her friends ask her to race home. As she was running, she tripped and fell on her two front teeth. At first, Raina thought she didn’t break anything until she got up and felt her mouth. She realized that her two front teeth were missing. Her friend’s mom called Raina’s parents as soon as she noticed that Raina was hurt. Raina’s parents came running over and took her the orthodontist. The orthodontist filled her teeth in with a cast for her two front teeth. She went back after the month and they did work on her two front teeth again. When it was her first day of high school, Raina’s friends were being mean to her like pulling down her skirt and called her dog breath because of her braces kit. After all that happened she confronted them. On top of that, she could not smile with confidence, she would just smile with her mouth closed. Raina meets new friends after she was done with her old friends. In the end, Raina gets her final surgery and she is able to smile with confidence again.

In my opinion, I love this book and I would recommend this book to anyone that adores realistic fiction just like I do. I  also love books that I can relate to. This was a perfect match because most of what the author was saying it was like my life inside a book. I was able to relate to Smile because I had dental problems just like Raina. I had to go through the process like Raina but instead of knocking out my teeth, I had a palate expander, four brackets on my top four front teeth, and brackets and rubber bands all over my teeth now.   

 

Big Nate In A Class By Himself Book Review by 7th Grader Anthony

Filed under: graphic novel,Humor,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 11:36 am
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I really like this book. I recommend it if you enjoy comics and Diary Of a Wimpy Kid.

This story is about Nate Wright. One morning, Nate forgot about the social studies test so Nate was trying to get out of getting a social studies test. His teacher,  Mrs. Godfrey, said if he does not pass his next test, he will need to go to summer school! But those chapters you need to read for yourself. The main part of the book is about Nate trying to surpass all others because his friend Teddy gave him a fortune cookie that he got from his Chinese food the night before. It turns out Nate is having the worst day ever so will Nate’s fortune come true? Read Big Nate In A Class By Himself by Lincoln Peirce to find out. I love Big Nate! I’ve been  reading Big Nate since I was little. It’s a 10/10 book! You don’t even need to read the first book, they explain everything in the book. You don’t need to read them in order.

 

Awkward Review by 8th Grade Joseph April 19, 2018

Awkward is a graphic novel by Svetlana Chmakova.  Joseph

The reason I like it is because of how the story is played out.

A girl named Penelope accidentally trips in the hall on the first day of middle school. A boy named Jamie tries to help her and soon everybody starts laughing at her and so she pushes him and then they all laugh at him. She is trying to apologize to him but she thinks he hates her so she can’t apologize. Meanwhile, the club she in is being denied a table at the club fair and the science club is getting it.  So, the art and the science clubs go to war over the club fair. People must stop it before it gets out of hand. Will she succeed or will she caught in war?

If you want to know, find out in Awkward.

 

Dogs of War Book Review by 7th Grader Juan April 13, 2018

DogDog’s of War by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox is a graphic novel with three different stories about three dogs – Boots, Loki, and Sheba. These dogs are based on real dogs that were used in war against the Nazis or other threats.

My favorite story was about Loki and Cooper. They were in a base during World War II. Cooper would share his food with Loki and stay with him. Another part I liked was when Cooper and Loki fought off three Nazis and end up overpowering them and meet up with the sarge. They all head to the base greeting each other.

People should read this book. I recommend this to people who like dogs or are really interested in history.