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!

Picturing What War Must Be Like April 1, 2013

Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers, Collages by Ann Grifalconi is a very short picture book about one soldier’s experience in the Vietnam War.

According to the book jacket, “Walter Dean Myers joined the army on his seventeenth birthday, at the onset of American involvement in Vietnam, but it was the death of his brother in 1968 that forever changed his mind about war.”

This soldier Walter Dean Myers write about in this story was in “the land of my enemy.” He describes what it was like for soldiers to move into this unknown land and risk their lives. The soldier is in continual search for the enemy while being afraid to actually encounter this enemy. The American soldier finally meets the enemy he’s been on the hunt for. He’s shocked to discover how young his enemy really is. Both soldiers are forced to face each other and the realities of the war.

The illustrations in this picture book are unique. They are collages made from both drawings and real life photos. This book is a great resource to use while reading and learning about the Vietnam War.


Reading a Scrapbook November 11, 2012

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff is like no book I have ever read! I’m not so sure what category it even falls into – mixed media? graphic book? picture book?

I think the best description it comes closest to is a scrapbook!

Find out about Ginny’s year as a 7th grader as you take a peak into her personal belongings. Her story is told through poems, report cards, receipts, letters, IMs, and emails. You put the story together and find out what happens to her as you read things that could be a part of her real scrapbook. Someone once said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  The author, Jennifer L. Holm, uses many pictures in this book that’s worth an entertaining story!

Once you’ve read that book you must read the next book to find out what happens to Ginny in 8th grade! I’m hoping Jennifer L. Holm let’s us know what happens to Ginny as she goes into 9th grade! I can’t wait to read more books just like these because they make reading fun!