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!

Woman For Humane Treatment of Animals March 23, 2017

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 2:46 pm

As a young child, nothing made sense for Temple Grandin. She couldn’t understand people talking to her, she couldn’t look people in the eye, and sounds and clothing could make her very uncomfortable. She wasn’t able to express any of this to the people around her, which led her to throw tantrums which further confused everyone. At the age of three she was diagnosed with Autism, a hardly known disorder at the time, which maimgresde many things others took for granted, very difficult for Temple. She worked hard and with the help of her mother, she was able to begin to understand the world around her, although some things still are a mystery to her to this day.

As she grew, she realized she had an affinity for understanding animals and what could provoke fear in them.  She spent time on her aunt and uncle’s farm in Arizona, riding horses, working with cattle, and designing and fixing things for them. In time, she became very interested in how she could improve the lives of animals heading to slaughter and began working with places to make the end of the lives of animals better.

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery is an honest look at how Grandin impacted the world of farm animals and in the process changed how we look at the end of life for them.

Recommended for any animal lovers and anyone who consumes meat, to see how our life decisions impact others. Grades 7th and up.

 

 

A Life In Poems March 3, 2017

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles,Novels in Verse — oneilllibrary @ 12:43 pm

Born a slave in 1864, his mother and he were stolen from the white couple who owned them. Little George was recovered but not his mother, so he and his older brother were raised for a time by the white couple who clearly cared deeply for them. Later they sent George and his brother to get an education.

For many years George worked hard and traveled far to learn as much as he could about life and many living things. He was amazing at laundry, because he’d figured out how to clean things well! He was able to tell people huge amounts of information about many plants and what they could be used for.

imgres-1Eventually, he was able to get his master’s degree and began working as a professor at Tuskegee Institute where he made incredible works of art as well as improved the lives of farmers over and over again with his techniques. His introduction of the peanut as a way to improve the lives of former slaves and the soil in the south was a brilliant stroke to better the lives of many.

Carver: a life in poems by Marilyn Nelson is a difficult read at times and at turns very poignant as we get a glimpse into the private and often lonely life of George Washington Carver, undeniably one of America’s greatest scientific minds.

Recommended for 8th grade and up due to high level of inferencing and vocabulary.

 

Many Wanted Hitler Gone February 27, 2017

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 10:34 am

One of the most surprising things about this book for me was just how early many high imgresofficials in the German government wanted Hitler gone or stopped. However, Hitler was very quick to put down anyone who spoke out against him and because of this, many plots had to go “underground.”

An area that doesn’t get much discussion in history classes is the role that the Church could have taken in trying to halt the progression of Hitler’s regime. A man named Dietrich Bohnoeffer was very aware that if the Church came out against Hitler’s policies of discrimination against Jews and others, it was possible that the general population would have followed suit and made things more difficult for Hitler and his men. Dietrich brought this concern to the Church leadership’s attention time and again. However, his pleas fell on deaf ears. This dismayed Dietrich so much that he even went as far as to start his own Church.

Interestingly, most of Dietrich’s family became involved in a plot to remove Hitler from his position as early as 1938. In fact, as a pastor, one of his brother-in-laws came to him with the moral question, was it okay to commit murder if it was to kill someone like Hitler? This was a question that Dietrich, as a pacifist, wrestled with. He believed that the work of Gandhi in India was the way to defeat Hitler and the Nazis. However, others believed that nonviolence methods could not work against Hitler. Finally, Dietrich came to the same realization and joined his one brothers and two of his brother-in-laws in their secret plot to assassinate Hitler.

The Plot to Kill Hitler by Patricia McCormick is a fast paced thriller in a nonfiction package. As readers we find out at the beginning of the book that Dietrich and much of his family were caught in their plot to kill Hitler and executed, however, the amount of times that Dietrich could have saved himself but stayed his course were numerous. The tragedy of their family is that most of them were killed within a few weeks of the end of the war.

Recommended for anyone who is fascinated by World War II, Hitler, or what life was like in Germany during that time period. Grades 7 and up should enjoy this title.

 

Founding Fathers and Slaves January 12, 2017

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 10:17 am

Lots of political arguments begin and end with the phrase “our founding fathers…” and yet, while we know a lot about these founding fathers (who were also some of our first presidents) not much is mentioned about how the majority of them owned enslaved imgrespeople.

In fact, four out of the first five presidents of the United States owned people they considered their “property.” From George Washington to Andrew Jackson, these men we often revere thought that owning a person was okay for most of, if not all of their lives.

In the Shadow of Liberty: The hidden history of slavery, four presidents and five black lives by Kenneth C. Davis is a powerful look at a part of our history we are still trying to make sense of and come to terms with – often without any success.

Davis looks at what it was like to live with and be owned by these powerful men in American history, and how many enslaved people played a large, but silent role in contributing to that image. From Billy Lee Williams who served with Washington for his whole life and perhaps played a large role in Washington granting freedom to his enslaved people after Martha’s death to Alfred Jackson, who was owned by Andrew Jackson and later his son ,until Alfred was freed due to the Civil War. Andrew Jackson considered abolitionists to be “monsters” and what they wrote “unconstitutional and wicked,” yet when Alfred was brought up on murder charges, Andrew Jackson paid for his defense.

Contradictions between how these early presidents felt about the idea of liberty for themselves from Britain, yet couldn’t quite see it extend to people who lived and worked for them shows how complicated and intertwined slavery was in the fabric of American life.

Recommended for all 7th graders and up to read as it is an important part of our history and one we can’t afford to ignore.

 

 

Simeon’s Story – A Review by 8th Grader Paul B. December 15, 2016

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — bhomel @ 1:35 pm
Tags:

In the summer of 1955, Emmett Till gets on a train and leaves Chicago and goes to visit his relatives in Mississippi for the summer. As he arrives in Mississippi, Emmett, Simeon, and the rest of their cousins are having fun and enjoying Emmett’s visit until one morning when they all go to a little market called Bryant’s Grocery. Emmett wanted to get some bubble gum and soda because it was so hot. So he went into the store by himself. Simeon and the other cousins were worried because there was a white lady named Carolyn Bryant who was working as the cashier for the market. Simeon went into the store and in the book he stated that Emmett did not have any physical contact with Mrs. Bryant nor talked to her. After Emmett and Simeon left the store, they were standing in the front of the store goofing around until Mrs. Bryant walked out a few minutes behind them. She headed to her car and then Emmett whistled at Mrs. Bryant. The cousins knew Emmett was in danger so they all fled back home before something happened.

Two days later. in the middle of the night when the family came back from downtown Mississippi, two white men knocked on the door and Emmett’s uncle answered the door. It was Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. They ordered to have Emmett Till come with them so they abducted Emmett. The family was so scared for Emmett and did not know what to do but call thImage result for simeon's storye cops. A week later, a detective came to the home where Emmett got abducted and told the uncle of Emmett Till that they found his body in the Tallahatchie River. The family saw the body. They said that they could not recognize the body because he was so beaten, they couldn’t tell it was him. They were mourning for days and had a funeral back in Chicago. Then the trial started.

In my opinion, I think Simeon’s Story  by Simeon Wright was very interesting and hard to put down. I learned a lot about how Emmett Till got abducted and murdered. And I learned more about how Emmett’s personality was before the abduction.

 

Wild Boy – A Review by 7th Grader Kamille E.

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 11:02 am

Image result for wild boy book

The Wild Boy has been wild all his life in the forests. The Wild Boy was only like a human by walking like a regular person, but still acted like a animal. When he acted like an animal, he dug from the dirt and roots to get food. Then the Wild Boy would walk around naked. People from the Village of Lacaune saw him and tried to rescue him, because they wanted to know and get full knowledge of how he became wild. Whenever people from the village caught him, the wild boy ended up escaping again. Usually when people captured him, they put the Wild Boy on display for everyone to see. The Wild Boy gets put into an orphanage and Dr. Itard takes him. Dr.Itard tries to see if he had any family background and helped him talk and ask for things he wanted. Dr.Itard tried his best to teach him how to communicate, but the Wild Boy was not close to understanding on how to communicate. As the Wild Boy then grew up to be a full adult, he leaves back into the wild, and continues his life in the wild. They all knew he would try and come back to visit, and he lived in freedom his whole life.

In the book Wild Boy by Mary Losure, I thought the book had a great meaning to it. In my opinion, I liked the book a little bit, it wasn’t the best book I read, but the book had a terrific beginning to where you wanted to find out how he became wild. I had a great time enjoying the book Wild Boy.

 

Leon’s Story – a Review by 7th Grader Tony V December 12, 2016

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 11:02 am
Tags: ,

In the book Leon’s Story by Leon Tillage, Leon Tillage talks about his life of how he is treated when he was a little boy. HImage result for leon's story booke was treated in a bad way. Leon was beat up and felt scared because he was African American. He was different from the White people and some Whites thought African Americans should not be there.

The book was really good. It told me about the past and how African Americans felt.

I hope there are more things or stories about Leon.