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!

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.

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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.                

 

Short Life of a Shorty August 2, 2017

Filed under: graphic novel,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 9:03 am

downloadThey called him Yummy because he loved sweets. He slept with a teddy bear and stole kids’ lunch money, broke into houses, cars and anything he could get his hands on. He was eleven years old when he killed a girl. He was elven years old when a 14 and 16 year old killed him.

His real name was Robert Sandifer and he lived in Chicago in the mid 1990s. It was there that he got an education in the darker side of life. What is a boy to do when his father is locked in jail and he has been taken away from his mother because of abuse. His grandmother loved him, but she had up to 20 other grandkids to look after as well. Often Yummy would take off for days and only return when he wanted some love and a safe place to sleep.

The Black Disciples – a gang in Chicago – liked to recruit young kids. They couldn’t be tried as adults and as such could do a lot of things without being locked up for the rest of their lives. The gang used this to their advantage and had the younger kids, or shortys, do a lot of their dirty work.

One afternoon, Yummy came across some rival gang members and pulled out his gun. But instead of shooting the gang members, he killed a 14 year old girl named Shavon Dean. Thus began a huge manhunt in the city of Chicago for an eleven year old boy.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri is a powerful fictionalized graphic novel account of what went down in the hot summer of 1994. The reader is faced with the question, was Yummy the victimizer or the victim?

Highly recommended for grades 7th and up.

 

I Heart You, You Haunt Me – A Review by 8th Grader Tyra J. December 15, 2016

Filed under: graphic novel,Mystery and Ghost Stories,Romance — bhomel @ 1:12 pm

Image result for I heart you you haunt me

In I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder, Ava was really sad because her boyfriend, Jackson, died. She blames herself for daring him to jump off a cliff. When she goes to school, Ava is very sorrowful that teachers don’t let her do as much of the work. Her mom sometimes ask her friends to come over and maybe bring gifts just to try to get her out of the house. Jackson comes back as a ghost and gets her attention by making her cold or blowing the windows wide open. Jackson tells her she doesn’t want her to be sad about that day. Then the days proceed though that she grows tired of Jackson not wanting her to leave the house. Until the day Jessa pleaded that she wanted Ava to go to the party but the party was where everything had happened.  When Jessa leaves Ava by herself, Ava spots Lyric and ask for his phone so she can go home. But he offers her a ride home. When Ava realized that she is miserable that’s when Jackson comes around. When she noticed that she was miserable, she made a change and started hanging out with her friends.

I would rate this book 10 out of 10. The author didn’t tell you what happened to the boyfriend until the very end but at the start she always brought it up but never told what happen. I like the way the author described how Ava felt when Jackson comes into her room.