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!

And Then the Sharks Came April 24, 2015

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 9:22 pm
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They were trying to get to their parents. In the final days of WWII, the Pacific Ocean and the islands by the Philippines were devastated from bombings and all the fighting. Caught in the armies crossfire were civilians and others native to the islands. Patrick and Teddy had been having bad luck ever since the Japanese invaded the Philippines. Their parents, in an attempt to save them, sent them away to another island, not knowing the two boys would end up in grave danger there as well.

imgres-1Once the Japanese were driven off the island of Guam, Patrick has the idea if he can only get back to the Philippines, he can find their parents and be re-united with them after four long years. However, the only way for two young boys to get there is by becoming stowaways. It turns out they pick the wrong ship. With the help of a marine named Benny, they are smuggled aboard a ship called the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

This proves to be a fateful move however, since the Indy is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sinks in under 13 minutes. Benny, Patrick and Teddy make it into the water, but Benny is severely hurt in, and Teddy is basically no help. So Patrick must try to keep them alive even as the waters churn with sharks, ready to take them down, deep into the sea.

Into the Killing Seas by Michael Spradlin is a great historical fiction look at the sinking of this ship during WWII, and the worst encounter between humans and sharks ever recorded.

Recommended for grades 6 and up.


Here Come the Sharks! February 10, 2015

So the vacation isn’t starting off the way he, Davey, is hoping or imagining it would. Even though they are in “paradise,” Davey is stuck in a room with his parents and younger, obnoxious brother and, well, the room is getting pretty funky. Soimgreswhy not just slip out with his book and get some reading in while the rest of the family sleeps on?

It sounds like a good idea, but even that early in the morning, there are people wandering around the resort. So Davey keeps going till have finds a little alcove with a beautiful beach. It has a no swimming sign posted, but the water is calm and shallow, and so warm that Davey puts his things under a bush and decides to wade in a bit. He doesn’t realize that the ocean has other plans for him and he gets taken out in a rip current before he even realizes what has happened to him.

Before long, he is floating in the ocean, with no land in sight, and no one knows where he is. Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop is a heart pounding, fast paced book about missed opportunities, mistaken identity, and what happens when everything that can go wrong, does.

Recommended for grades 6th and up who like survival stories.