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!

The Lost Family November 1, 2016

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — lpitrak @ 4:09 pm
Tags: , ,


This is a rare nonfiction book, which is COMPLETELY true, but crazier than fiction! Beginning in 1903, this fascinating story focuses on the “lost family” of Russia—whose legend seems to grow stronger over time. Nicholas II was Tsar of Russia, and was at the time the wealthiest monarch in the entire world. He had a kingdom of 130 million people, and his empire stretched to cover an entire 1/6 of all land on the entire surface of the earth (which is CRAZY), but his subjects lived in dire poverty.

The Romanov family was composed of Nicholas, his beautiful, shy wife Empress Alexandra, their wild, gorgeous daughters named Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia, and their very frail, sickly youngest brother, the Tsarevich Alexei. They ate off of solid gold plates, attended parties with thirty-course dinners, and all owned prize-winning horses….  And at the same time, farmers in Russia starved and froze to death in homes with no heat, factory workers worked 12-hour days in dangerous conditions where it was easy to lose fingers, hands, or your life working with run-down factory machines, and young men died as soldiers fighting in World War I. Almost 2 million Russian soldiers were killed in total in World War I.

Infuriated by such an unbalance in lifestyle, members of the Bolshevik party forcibly removed the Romanov family from their palace to the country, placing them under house arrest.  Then, in July 1918, rebels from the party entered the estate where the entire Romanov family had been banished, with the intention of executing all of them. However, afraid to cause a mass uproar when revealing the murder of children, they later reported only Tsar Nicholas II was dead… when the mass grave of the family was found, two bodies were missing—what really happened to Princess Anastasia and Tsarevich Alexei?  Read this exciting book to find out!


Death – Everywhere June 30, 2014

At first, the reports from out East didn’t bother too many people in Oregon. After all, Pennsylvania and New York seemed almost a world away. It seemed that way to Cleo,imgres who was too busy trying to figure out what she should do with her life. After all, she couldn’t just hang around her brother Jack’s house forever, could she? But day after day, she felt no passion that inspired her.

When Jack and his wife, Lucy, go away on an anniversary trip to San Francisco, Cleo is forced to go stay at her school as a boarding student. Oh, the misery of living at the school full time. For the seventeen year old, nothing seems worse.

Until a trainload of soldiers from the east arrives, and the dreaded Spanish Flu is no longer just a problem to be dealt with in the east; now it is on Cleo’s doorstep. Quickly the city of Portland changes. Cleo’s school closes and Cleo, in a quick and crazy decision, decides to leave the school and go home by herself. There in the quiet of her home, she sees an ad placed by the local Red Cross, asking for help with the sick. Cleo, not even quite knowing why herself, goes to see what she can do to help.

A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier looks at a time in our history where a flu so devastating struck so many millions around the world. It was made more deadly by the fact it was happening during World War I, and the contagion spread throughout the world. Cleo, like so many of her time, had to watch the strong and healthy brought low by this terrible flu, and wonder, if she was next.

Recommended for anyone interested in the early nineteen hundreds, World War I, and historical fiction in general. For grades 6 and up.


Ready for Anything??? January 15, 2014

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 2:26 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

imgresI’m a HUGE historical fiction fan. I know that isn’t typical for most readers, but I love history. In a time of so many series, there are a few that I believe have been overlooked. Once such is the series about Mary ‘Jacky’ Faber, Ship’s Boy by L.A. Meyer.

Mary is feeling beyond hopeless. When she loses both her parents and her sister in a matter of two days to a dreadful disease in London, 1797. Luckily, for Mary, she is accosted after she runs out of the only home she’s ever known, and right into the hands of Charlie’s gang. Charlie’s gang is a misfit group of children lost to the streets. Her life continues on with the gang for some time until one night, things go badly for Charlie. Mary sees a chance to change her life forever. The question is, can she pull it off, will she be strong enough, and if she does take the chance, what happens if she is discovered?

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer is the first book in this fast paced, exciting, swashbuckling adventure. I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs to laugh and gasp at this incredible character.

Highly recommended for grades 7 and up.