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. Enjoy!

He Hid, But Was Found August 14, 2014

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 4:26 pm
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After World War II and the Nuremberg Trails, not ALL the major Nazis were captured and tried. Some escaped justice for a time and some for all time. One major person of interest was Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi official who was in charge of removing Jews from Germany and ultimately, all of German occupied Europe. This meant he was the one responsible for rounding up the Jews, and transporting them to concentration camps all over Europe where they faced unimaginable horrors trying to survive. Many had no chance of survival, as they were killed immediately.

imgresAs the war drew to a close, and it became evident Germany was losing, Eichmann was told to stop killing Jews, but he didn’t. He began moving them out of the camps on long torture filled walks in terrible weather where more and more died.

However, at the end of the war, Eichmann wasn’t on trail. He wasn’t to be found. Some didn’t even know his role in the war, and others, once they found out, didn’t even have a picture to know who they were looking for.

Thus it wasn’t until a girl named Sylvia, living in Argentina in 1956 brought home her new boyfriend to meet her family. His name was Nick Eichmann. During dinner he admitted his father had been a high ranking Nazi official who was instrumental in eliminating Jews in Europe. Many former Nazi found a haven in Argentina after the war, and anti Jewish sentiments were high even after the war in Argentina. For that reason, Sylvia’s father, who was half Jewish, had never admitted to anyone in Argentina his heritage. It made for a very uncomfortable dinner.

It wasn’t until months later, after Sylvia had broken up with Nick Eichmann, that she and her father read an article naming the notorious Nazi, Adolf Eichmann. They realized they might have been having dinner with one of his sons.

Thus began the secret spy operation by Israel to bring to justice one of the most hated and feared men from the Nazi organization. The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb tells the tale of how one of the most infamous men of World War II was kidnapped, drugged and ultimately taken to trail for his crimes.

Highly recommended for anyone who is interested reading about World War II or a good spy story in grades 7th and up.

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Spies…Everywhere! July 9, 2013

I had no idea. Seriously, none, till I read Bomb: The Race to Build – And Steal – The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin just how many spies wereimgres running around during World War II. It was crazy! Americans were spying on Germans, British were spying for Russians, Russians were trying to spy on everyone, and what cracked me up is most of the spying happened between allies!

This all started when it was discovered by a German physicist that a uranium atom could be split. It wasn’t thought possible at the time. That any atom could be split. And when it split, it gave off energy. So what if a bunch of uranium was put in a situation where it was splitting all over the place – that could produce a lot of energy. Energy could equal a bomb. Soon it was a race. The Germans and the rest of the world were engaged in a massive world war. One that if either side got a serious bomb, could change the course of humanity.  The Germans were limited in the resources available to them as well as not many scientists (many had fled before the war began), lack of a material they needed from Norway – heavy water – and the sabotage of the plant that produced it, as well as the fact that physicists stopped publishing their findings, meant Germany had several handicaps.

The United States created a special program lead by Robert Oppenheimer in the desolate area of Los Alamos, New Mexico. Here scientists from all across the country were recruited to help figure out how to take the fact that uranium atoms could split and produce energy and make bombs out of it all before the Germans. For years these people labored to create something with the massive power of destruction, all before “the other guys.” In the process though, many secrets from the United States made it to the Soviet Union.

The amount of spying and who was doing it is staggering. Truly amazing. There were many Americans who spied for the Soviet Union for years. All the clandestine things you think of happening when people spy – really did!

This is a fabulous look at, and explanation of, how humanity harnessed an awesome power and the people who were responsible for creating it.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.

 

 

Beautiful Assassin March 18, 2013

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Since this historical fiction novel Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (first in a new series) has been on all of the best of 2012 lists, I just had to check it out.  It definitely lives up to all  of the hype!!!  Ismae’s mother died when she was young, leaving her alone with a brutal, demeaning father who sells her to an even more bullying farmer.  Unexpectedly, Ismae is spirited away in the evening by a group of saviors, who take her to a convent filled with beautiful, intelligent, respectable women.  They all have a secret though… they serve Saint Mortain, god of Death.  Ismae trains in weaponry, poisons, and deception, but her greatest challenge will be protecting her heart from the gorgeous soldier on whom she is sent to spy.  Ismae is a brave, self-sacrificing, honorable heroine in the vein of Cashore’s Katsa, Collins’ Katniss, and George R.R. Martin’s Arya.  This amazing read will be followed by sequels, as LaFevers follows other assassin’s assignments through the convent.

 

Teen Spies in Training March 1, 2013

CHERUB

CHERUB is for kids younger than age 18.  They have to be incredibly intelligent; they have to be in peak physical condition; they have to blend into their surroundings, and can’t have any family or ties outside the organization who would miss them.  CHERUB is an organization made up wholly of children and teenage spies.  Robert Muchamore’s awesome, very popular series is being reprinted, each with brand new AMAZING cover art.  Hopefully, this will introduce a whole new set of young adults to James, Lauren, Kyle and the rest of the dauntless undercover agents who work alongside M16 agents to take down criminals.  With all of the intense training real-time training and daring missions, CHERUB is the perfect transition series for teenagers who have finished all of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books, but aren’t quite ready for Jason Bourne.

 

8th Guest Blogger – Highly Recommended Book! January 31, 2013

imgres-2I have just so recently read Trackers by Patrick Carman. I would have to say it was a great book. If you are into technology, and like using it to track or watch someone this is definitely the book for you. That may sound a little creepy, but it’s true… Anyhow back on topic. I was so amazed by the technology Adam had had! He had technology not even on the market! The book was easily a nine out of ten, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series. Personally I’ve always wanted to get a government job tracking threats on the internet like the NSA, Homeland Sec., etc., but Adam and his crew get an awesome job offering at the end of the first book. I would have done anything to get the job offer they got. Once I read the first page I had to keep reading. I felt like an anaconda grabbing its victim from the beginning, but never letting go until the end! That simile is a little bit morbid, but the book was really good. I would suggest putting the book in the library, and I would also suggest anyone into technology to read the book. -Taus