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!

If something is Gone, is it Lost? December 3, 2013

Essie’s life is hard, but it is all she knows. She would love to start her own hat making shop, but that would require way more money than she could probably save in ten years. She has the responsibility of raising her younger sister, Zelda, and keeping her brother, Saulie, out of trouble. Her father died when she was only ten and her mother, after giving birth to Zelda, has to go to work full time. Essie was left to raise little Zelda, whom she loved instantly. Their mother always feels Essie lets Zelda get away with too much, but Essie can’t refuse her little sister anything.

When Essie gets older, she goes to work for the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, making shirts each day. There, she meets a woman named Harriet, who imgresappears to be lost. Essie is drawn to Harriet, who is a bit of a mystery. Why would someone who seems to come from money be working in a factory?

Lost by Jacqueline Davies is set in bustling New York City right around the turn of the century. Essie’s family is a typical working class family of the day, and the book portrays the struggles that each individual faced daily. Any history savvy reader will know the horrific events that befell the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, and of course Essie and Harriet can’t escape this incident.

Lost is more about the relationships Essie forms with her family, a young man, and Harriet, than the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. It shows how just because something or someone is gone, it doesn’t mean they are lost.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.