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!

So you THINK you want to be King? February 27, 2013

Hah! Seriously, after reading Kids Who Rule: The Remarkable Lives of Five Child Monarchs by Charis Cotter, you will think twice about how grand it would have been to be king. Just think of all the people who are constantly trying to take you down. This book looks at five kids who were rulers. Now, some you have heard of, like King Tut, but others were new to me like Queen Christina of Sweden, and the last Emperor of China, Puyi.

What all of these rulers had in common was they were forced by birth to take a throne that was either ready for them, or they had to wait till they were a bit older to try to take over. Puyi, the last Emperor was a virtual prisoner in his Forbidden City and raised by women who wanted to keep him so sheltered he didn’t even understand the outside world until he was a teenager. Even after that, he was used as a pawn in wars and ended up being viewed as a traitor to his people. Queen Christina had to be voted on by groups of people in Sweden whether they felt she was fit to rule as a queen, and when they did, she was only able to take the throne when she was older after years of rigorous training in warfare as well as diplomacy. These kids were busy with all they had to learn, or were busy trying to avoid being assassinated.

Really makes you think about how being a King or Queen proably wasn’t all it seems cracked up to be!

Recommended for grade 6 and up.


Don’t Read All At Once November 29, 2012

So I started reading this book on a road trip with my family. At first I was sharing bits and pieces with my husband, but as the hours and pages rolled by, he asked, no BEGGED me to stop. Frankly, it became a bit depressing! Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a fabulous, informative, funny (parts are laugh out loud funny), engaging book that is hard to stop reading…until you get a queasy feeling. So, seriously, you read this book and you’ll never wish to go back in time again, if you ever did! Or at least go back into a time where there were no antibiotics, dentists with novocaine or how about doctors who washed their hands! This book looks at nineteen deaths of famous folks from Edgar Allan Poe to Cleopatra to James Garfield and really more gory details about their ends then you probably ever wanted to know. How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg is one book you won’t ever forget reading, but take my advice. Spread it out over a few days, unless you are good at handling lots of gore, guts and and gagging, or and don’t forget bodily fluids.

Recommended for mature (for the gross out factor and sarcastic writing style) 6th graders and up.