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!

Do YOU Believe in Fairies? October 30, 2013

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 8:36 am
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Almost a hundred years ago, two girls, one 9 and one 15, began an adventure together. Frances, who was 9, went with her mother to live with her aunt and uncle while her father was offimgres fighting in the Great War (World War I). Her older cousin, Elsie, showed her the beck, or glen behind the house they were living. As the weather got nicer, Frances would spend more and more time investigating the flowers, trees and animals that lived around the little waterfall and stream that ran through the area behind the cottage.

At one point, Frances began to notice little men around the trees, and later, she saw fairies. At one point she mentioned this to her mother, and aunt and uncle, who immediately said she was making things up and began to tease her. When Frances asked Elsie if she ever saw fairies, Elsie said she had. One day, Elsie asked if she and Frances could borrow father’s camera to take a picture of the fairies. Her father reluctantly agreed, and only gave one plate for them to use. When Elsie and Frances were far away from the house, Elsie brought out little paper fairies she had drawn on paper, painted and carefully cut out. They used long hatpins and gum to keep the fairy pictures up. Thus began one of the longest running hoaxes in modern times…all perpetrated by young girls.

The Fairy Ring or Elsie and Frances Fool the World by Mary Losure is a great little book showing how one afternoon changed the lives of many people in England and even in America. What is amazing is how the whole story didn’t come up for so many years.

Recommended for 6th grade and up.


Steampunk Spy! March 18, 2013

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — kbradley123 @ 1:12 pm
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In Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger, Sophronia is forced to attend finishing school after countless incidents that have cause shamed to her family. Little does her family know that the finishing school that she is about to attend is one that is know for turning girls not into ladies but into assassins, spies and evil geniuses. However, Sophronia also discovers that there is trouble at her new floating school. An older student is holding a prototype hostage and evil flywaymen are going to attack the school! It is up to Sophronia and her odd band of friends to keep the school safe, while also making sure they are on time to their next lesson with a vampire teacher!

This book is a great example of an epic mash-up. This book is part steampunk mystery, part adventure and part historical re-write. This book is set in alternate 1850 England but everything is changed do to the steampunk nature of the book. Sophronia is a strong female sent to a finishing school by her family to make her presentable to society. What ends up happening is Sophronia because a really good spy and is still learning how to be a proper lady. There are many twisted and turns in this book and I really enjoyed the quick thinking of Sophronia. This is the first book of a series, so who knows what trouble Sophronia and friends will get into next.

Those who like books by Cassandra Clare and Scott Westerfeld will enjoy this new series on learning to be a proper lady while also being a cunning spy!