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!

Peace or Revolution? March 19, 2019

Set in 1968 Chicago, this beautiful coming-of-age novel highlights the rise of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party. Sam and Stick Childs are the son of Roland Childs, a devoted father and a Civil Rights Movement advocate for peaceful protest. Roland is a personal friend to Martin Luther King, Jr., and his sons have grown up attending marches and speeches for black equality. Recently, however, Stick has been spending

rockandrivermore time with the local Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party; he is inspired by the Party’s free breakfast program, support for impoverished neighborhood families, and rhetoric about fighting violence with violence. As the younger brother, Sam has always looked up to Stick and followed his lead in all things. However, joining up with the Black Panthers means directly opposing his father’s commitment to non-violence and peaceful protest. Sam feels caught between loyalty to his father and to his brother, or between “a rock and a river,” with any choice he makes seeming to be a loss. Can Sam find his own moral compass and voice as he struggles to grow up in one of the nation’s most turbulent periods in history?


An Old Favorite…Reread February 11, 2013

I just finished rereading the book  Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume.  The book is older than I am (published in 1974), but young girls today can probably still connect to the main character Margaret.  The questions that Margaret deals with are timeless.  Her Grandparents disowned her mother when she chose to marry a man of a different faith, leaving Margaret to grow up with no religion at all in a time where all of her friends either go to temple or Sunday school.  As a whole, I think religion is less a part of teenagers lives today, but it is still something that I’m sure is dealt with.  Also, Margaret is waiting anxiously “to become a woman” and deals with having a crush much the way girls still do today.  Will Margaret find a God that she connects with?  Will she ever become a woman?

I definitely enjoyed rereading this classic coming to age novel. The publishers should rerelease a 21st century edition so young girls everywhere could be reintroduced to this great book.