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!

How Well Can You Keep a Secret? January 28, 2014

She doesn’t understand at first, why she must keep certain things a secret. Growing up in Paris with a loving mother and father, Odette’s life is wonderful. She gets to stay after school with her godmother and father, who dote on her endlessly. However, even as Odette’s life seems perfect, the outside world isn’t. Often, her father and mother whisper into the night about Germany and Hitler and the Nazis. Odette isn’t sure at all what these things mean, being a little girl.

imagesHowever, one day her father says he is going to join the French army to stop the German forces from taking over France. He is captured, and Odette and her mother go visit him in prison. But that is the last time they are able to see him. Not long after that, Odette’s mother tells her they must begin to keep secrets. One of those secrets is Odette must go live in the French countryside with other people. The biggest secret Odette must keep is one that could lead to her death if she doesn’t. The fact that she is a Jew must never come out, or it could mean capture for her and the people sheltering her. Can she keep this incredible secret?

Odette’s Secrets by Maryann MacDonald shares the story of a little girl caught up in the terrifying events of World War II. This story is based on the real life of a woman who was sheltered during WWII in France, and actual photos of her and her family add to the story. This novel in verse is a great book for anyone looking to learn more about the war and another Holocaust survival story.

Recommended for 6th grade and up.


A True Survival Story April 22, 2013

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — bhomel @ 1:29 pm
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Written by Kathy Kacer, Hiding Edith, is a true story about Edith Schwalb.

Edith Schwalb was a young Jewish girl living in Vienna, Austria in 1938. Life in Vienna was changing because Hitler began targeting Jewish people. Hitler and the Nazis made life difficult for many Jewish people in Germany and the countries surrounding. To ensure their safety, Edith’s family had to leave their home in Vienna and move to Belgium.

It wasn’t long before Edith was then forced to leave Belgium. Separated from her family, Edith was sent to a school in France. This school took in Jewish children secretly and kept them safe. Edith had to learn how to live without her family. Eventually no countries were safe from Hitler and his invading army – the school got news that the Nazis would be coming to look for Jewish children! With nowhere left to run, Edith was forced to change her identity and forget her Jewish heritage.

Written by Kathy Kacer, Hiding Edith, is a true story about Edith Schw


A Holocaust Survivor Story December 18, 2012

Four Perfect Pebbles by Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan is the true story of Marion Blumenthal and her family. 

Marion, her parents, and her brother Albert (the four perfect pebbles) are Jewish. Her story begins in Hoya, Germany in the 1930s. Things started to change as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power. Marion’s family is forced to leave their hometown because Hitler was working on making Germany free of Jews.
The Blumenthal family moved around to stay safe from Hitler. They hoped to make it to the United States of America. Coming to America wasn’t an easy task. The family was tricked into thinking they were traveling to Palestine to be finally be free and were returned to Germany to live as prisoners in a camp for Jewish people.
Marion’s experience at camp is nothing short of unbelievable and shocking. Many Jewish people were crowded into rooms with no bathrooms or showers in sight. It was dirty and lice were everywhere. There wasn’t enough food or water. People were getting sick and dying from lack of food or the conditions that were around them. Getting on a train to leave was often a death sentence for Jewish people at camp.

Marion and her family are called to board a cattle car of a train. Not knowing where they are headed, Marion can only assume the worst. Find out what happened to Marion and her family by reading Four Perfect Pebbles!