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!

His Dark Materials Trilogy November 14, 2012


I just re-read The Golden Compass, the first book in Philip Pullman’s incredible fantasy/adventure His Dark Materials trilogy.  The Golden Compass is set in the Victorian-era when high-tech travel is limited to boat, sled, and zeppelin, and excursions to the magical, wild, dangerous “North” are extremely deadly.  It is also a world where every person has a daemon, an animal embodiment of their soul which must stay close to them at all times.  Young Lyra Belacqua is a high-spirited storyteller and tomboy who was raised, along with her daemon Pantalaimon, on the campus of prestigious Jordan College in Oxford.  Lyra is much more interested in exploring the secret passageways and fighting the local gypsy children with Pantalaimon than studying, however.  All of this changes when beautiful, brilliant, cultured Mrs. Coulter takes a special interest in Lyra, and begins to groom her to become her assistant on an upcoming expedition to the North.  But Mrs. Coulter is far more sinister than her appearance would suggest, and Lyra discovers that her mentor is in a deadly race to get to the North to experiment on a strange, mysterious substance called Dust before Lyra’s uncle, Lord Asriel.  Parallel worlds, proud mercenary polar bears, murderous mechanical animals and more of some of the most creative magical wonders ever written about fill the pages of this amazing trilogy.  It is a must read for anyone who loved J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series or Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.