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 http://www.buzzsprout.com/229361 and enjoy!

Children Always Suffer in War July 14, 2015

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 5:51 pm
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As a young boy, growing up in rural southern Sudan, John only knew the good things in life. He enjoyed hearing stories of his relatives, braving the lions that roamed close to their village, and at 13 was looking forward to the day when he, too, would complete the ritual that would recognize him has a man in his community. However, one day, his village was attacked by the government forces. While there had been rumblings for years of possible war coming, until it arrived at his door step, John was able to push his fears aside. After the attack, he and a group of other boys and some adults, were forced to move from place to place, trying to survive.imgres

While John was going through this in the countryside, the major cities in the south were not safe either. Martha was only six years old, and her younger sister only three, when their parents decided it was too dangerous to stay in the main southern city and moved the family to the country. Martha was surprised by life in the country. It was very different than what she was used to. However, not long after this move, the village Martha and her family were in was also attacked. Her parents were in a neighboring village at the time, so Martha and her sister, along with other children were taken by a woman and they ran from the village.

What neither Martha nor John knew that first night, was this was not going to be something that would end quickly and they would be re united with their families. Both John and Martha found themselves traveling long distances, often without food or water, only to encounter hostilities at every turn. John found himself in a massive refuge camp, in charge of hundreds of younger boys, and in the position of trying to keep everyone going, while Martha struggled to find a place for herself and her sister.

Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping Civil War in Sudan by John Dau and Martha Akech is an amazing true story of how these children used their wits and ingenuity when things were at their worst.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.

 

The Good Braider May 17, 2014

Fourteen-year-old Viola lives in Juba, Sudan with her loving grandmother, strong-willed mother, and adoring littlethe good braider brother.  Although danger is constantly present in the form of land mines, armed soldiers, and starvation, Viola loves her family and community, and remembers the days when Juba was a lush paradise.  When she is raped by a soldier when walking home one evening, however, her family decides to make the treacherous journey from Sudan to Egypt to the United States.  Tragedy occurs along the way, and Viola finds herself torn between the luxuries found in America, and the high cost her family paid to get there.  Eventually, Viola discovers that she does not have to be defined by horrors in her past, and that she can live as a strong, proud Sudanese American woman.

 

How Much Can You Lose? January 2, 2014

Growing up in southern Sudan while the civil war raged was difficult to say the least. Viola doesn’t even remember her father, and her mother and grandmother struggle to keep the soldiers at bay in their small home which becomes a gathering place for many other widowed women in the community. Viola hasn’t been able to attend school since the northern Sudanese took over, but she does try to keep things going at home with her younger brother Francis.

imgresBut how can you live when even a boy trying to protect you soldiers on the street can be killed in front of your eyes? Something horrible happens to Viola, and her mother realizes they must leave. After a few false starts, Viola, her mother and little brother begin the flight to America. After much trauma, Viola is able to begin a new life, however, nothing is what she thought it would be.

The Good Braider by Terry Farish is a harsh, realistic look at immigrants and the situations that can bring people to America. It shows the huge adjustments that immigrants are forced to make in order to assimilate to a new country and culture.

Due to the realistic situations Viola and her family encounter, this book is recommended for mature 8th graders and older.