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!

What if someone else had your name? July 14, 2013

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 11:41 am
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imgresWhile one Wes Moore was growing on the East coast in New York City and in Baltimore, Maryland, there was another Wes Moore. However, one ended up being a Rhodes Scholar, graduating from John Hopkins College and the other was put in prison for life after participating in a robbery that killed an off duty police officer. How could two young men, both with many of the same struggles, end up with two very different lives?

This is the question Wes Moore asks in his book Discovering Wes Moore. When he was in South Africa on an exchange program during his final year in college, his mother told him someone with his name was being sought for murder. It began to haunt Wes. He wanted to know more about this other person with his name who was accused of something very wrong and tragic.

As we follow the life of Wes Moore, the author, we see his life had many ups and downs, and at no point in his early childhood did things look good for him. It wasn’t until he was in his early teens that things began to make sense to him a bit and his life did indeed change.

This is an incredible book for all the what ifs?

Recommended for grades 7th and up.



Can People Change? Really? July 12, 2013

imgres-1Jojo is back. And this isn’t something that the people in neighborhood are happy about. But since he has nothing better to do with a broken leg, Jojo’s neighbor sits and watches all from his porch. He sees how Jojo’s return affects Ardell’s family. After all, it was because Jojo put Ardell’s older brother in a coma that Jojo was locked up. He sees Shana, Jojo’s old girlfriend come by with their child, the child which started the whole situation that ended up with Ardell’s brother in a coma. And he sees how Ardell begins to launch a neighborhood campaign against Jojo.

However, he also sees Jojo taking care of his mother, and how he lights up when Shana comes by with their little boy, and he begins to wonder if people can change.

Back by Norah McClintock is a short, fast read that will haunt you with the choices the characters make. It will also have you asking yourself – can people change, for better or worse?

Recommended for students 6th grade and up.


The Lesser of Two Evils March 24, 2013

When none of the options looks good, what do you do? Calvin in Nowhere to Run by Claire J. Griffin is a runner, or actually he is a sprinter. He is starting his senior year of high imgresschool in Washington, D.C. and is looking forward to winning the 100 meter dash in the District Championship. What he doesn’t count on is getting caught up in the life of his best friend Deej whose cousin who happens to be running a lot of shady deals.

Struggling to stay in school when most of his classmates don’t seem to care about showing up, and a lot of the teachers appear to only be passing the time, Calvin has a goal, and that goal is to make it to spring and go as fast as he ever has before. His friend Deej plans to be there every step of the way, and even helps to coach Calvin. Yet, just when things seem to be falling into place for Calvin, who begins dating a girl with the nickname of Junior and feels he is in love for the first time, Deej becomes distant. One night Deej asks Calvin to do something Calvin knows might jeopardize everything he has worked so hard for both with his running and in his personal life. But how do you say no to your best friend?

Nowhere to Run gives you a sense of the conflict we all face growing up. How do we make those hard decisions on our own, and even more difficult, how do we live with them once we’ve made them.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.