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!

Sisters In Misery October 11, 2017

Filed under: Historical Fiction,Novels in Verse — oneilllibrary @ 3:56 pm

downloadFor decades, American Indian children were sent off to boarding schools that were supposed to educate them in the white man’s world. Often these children were sent by well intended parents who thought this was in the best interests of the children.

Mattie and Sarah are sent to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School after their mother dies. Some of their other siblings have already gone to other Indian schools, so this isn’t something new for the family. Mattie – the oldest of the two girls, and Sarah, both have reservations right away about their new school. The people in charge seem cold, distant and often just plain mean and cruel. However, Mattie quickly gains a friend and begins to like one of her teachers. Sarah struggles to do both. Yet it is the outspoken Mattie who finds herself a target of the head teacher.

Mattie is accused of stealing a pin from the head teacher, Mrs. Dwyer. Even though she says she didn’t, the other students begin to look at her as if she is guilty. Mattie feels that her only recourse is to run away from the school.

Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell looks at a troubling and often terrible time in our history. Readers will understand the longing and nostalgia both Mattie and Sarah feel for home, even as they try in vain to make the best of their situation.

Recommended for grades 6th and up.

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Ghost children live here October 8, 2017

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — lpitrak @ 3:35 pm
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Coraline and her parents move into a giant mansion that has been separated into many different apartments,

 each containing a different family. There is only one apartment that is empty, and Coraline finds herself strangely curious to open the door to explore this place. The mice in the building pass along the message for her to NOT go through the door… but Coraline is home alone one day and cannot contain her urge to pass through. Beyond the door, Coraline finds an apartment that is much like the one she just left—it is layed out the same way, and there are even two parents known as Other Mother and Other Father. They are loving and pay attention to her, cook her amazing food, and show her tiny wonders such as dolls and books that come to life. Coraline is pretty thrilled when Other Mother invites her to stay permanently—until Other Mother tells her that in order to do so, Coraline will have to allow her to sew buttons over her eyes. Horrified by this, Coraline tries to run away, and discovers the trapped children who Other Mother turned into ghosts. Can Coraline free their souls, save her real parents from the wrath of Other Mother and Other Father, and make it out alive?

 

 

Can a monster hunter become a monster himself?

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the  one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me… and the one who cursed me.

 

These words open this strange and terrifying book by Rick Yancey. They are taken from the journal of Will Henry, an orphan and apprentice with an unusual specialty—Will is apprencticed to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man who has spent his life both studying and hunting horrifying different species of monsters that most humans aren’t even aware exist. When Will is approached by a strange grave robber who has stumbled upon


the remains of a young girl who died with the monster that was eating her still attached to her body, Will’s world is about to change forever. The dead monster is an Anthropophagus–a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest. This one was a baby when it killed the girl; but there are more who are now full grown… and if the mostrumologists can’t kill them, nothing can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who will be Queen?

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 2:41 pm
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On the island of Fennbirn, every generation three triplets are born. These three girls are separated from each other once they turn six years old, and from then on are trained according to their natural abilities. One girl always has been born as a Naturalist—she has the affinity to communicate with animals, trees, and flowers, and also to control them. A second girl always is born as an Elemental—she has the power to

wield the elements of water, fire, wind, and earth; Elementals can create a gentle rain as easily as an earthquake. Finally, the third triplet is born as Poisoner who is immune to poison in all forms—Poisoners are gifted healers, but also stealthy murderers. After years of training, when these sisters turn sixteen, they enter into a battle… they are given a year to use their talents and training to face one another as adversaries. The triplet who is still alive at the end of one year is crowned Queen. Every generation for as long as anyone living can remember, a Poisoner has sat on the throne. But now, Arsinoe, Katherine, and Mirabella are about to turn sixteen and begin the most terrifying year of their lives—all three are talented, ambitious, and deadly… so may the best sister win.

 

Modern Retelling of Snow White September 19, 2017

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 3:51 pm
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This is a very inventive reimagining of the classic fairy tale Snow White. Mina, daughter of a cruel magician, has not known love since her mother died when she was a young girl. Even if her mother was still living, however, Mina might not be capable of love. Her outer beauty conceals a very dark secret—a heart made of glass. To save her life, her father removed her diseased heart and replaced it with one of cold, perfect glass. While she is alive, though, this has left her unable to feel emotions. Through scheming
Image result for girls made of snow and glassMina finds herself marrying King Nicolas, moving to Whitespring Castle, and becoming stepmother to a two-year-old little girl with a dark secret of her own; Princess Lynet has been sculpted from snow by Mina’s father, who is now blackmailing the king by threatening to reveal this to the entire kingdom. When Princess Lynet turns sixteen and her father announces his plans to name her Queen in Mina’splace, the two are positioned to fight to the death. But, is it possible that a stepmother with a heart of glass and a princess made of snow might actually love each other more than they love power, money, and their royal positions?

 

Running Blind September 14, 2017

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 1:18 pm

For Parker Grant, many things have happened to shape who she is. Many, many things. And she’s just 16 years old. When she was seven, she was in a car accident with her mom. Her mother died and Parker was left permanently blind. Her father became the rock in her world. Along with her father and some close friends, Parker was able to take back control of her life, as best she could. When she was in 8th grade though, Scott, who was her closest friend and for a little time – her first boyfriend – betrayed her in a way that she has never recovered from. If her best friend could devastate her, what could the rest of the world do to her? Luckily, she and Scott ended up going to different high schools.

But starting her junior year, the town has decided to combine the two small high schools, and so Parker must contend with a whole new group of people who don’t understand the girl with the blindfold on in the hallways, and Parker gets a new “guide” at school; a girl named Molly. While Parker is trying to adjust to life among the new students, she has forgotten about one person. Scott.

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He is in one of her classes and Parker begins to question many of the things in her life. Especially ever since her father died of a supposed overdose three months before school started and her aunt’s family came to live with her. Parker begins to realize that everyone has secrets – ones that even if she could see, she wouldn’t know about. She found out things about her father after he died she never suspected. Could she be wrong about other things as well?

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom is a wonderful, powerful look at how we can think we understand a situation or a person, and realize we truly know nothing.

Recommended for everyone because it is just that good. Or 7th grade and up.

 

Rats!!!!! September 1, 2017

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 9:08 am

I’m a huge lover of animals so when I selected this book, Misunderstood: Why the Humble Rat May Be Your Best Pet Ever by Rachel Toor, I was excited to read it. If you aren’t a rat person, you will be after reading this book. And after seeing the rat on the cover of this book. Seriously, couldn’t be cuter!

downloadMisunderstood gives the reader an admittedly biased view of rats. The author clearly adores rats, but does a review of other literature that is out there on these little creatures, which lend toward negative almost exclusively. Most people have a decidedly poor view of rats without really knowing about them. Toor does a great job of showing all sides of rats, what they need and the many different people who love them. Did you know that rats are litter trained, are incredibly clean and very social? These are just a few of the surprising facts you’ll learn if you give this book a chance.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone thinking about rats and wanting to know more about them, and also for those out there who only think of rats in a negative light. To know them is to love them, according to many!

Recommended for grades 6th and up.