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!

The War Within April 12, 2013

imgresA lot of war books are action packed with guns, bombs and general mayhem abounding. While Eddie’s War by Carol Fisher Saller is certainly, without a doubt a war book, it focuses on the home front, rather than the war front. And as such it is more of what I call a quiet book, but a book with a lot of punch nonetheless.

Eddie is a young boy when talk of a possible war begins. He first encounters the idea when he goes to the local library and begins – pretending at first since he can barely read- to peruse the newspapers. A man sits with him and reads them as well, and Eddie and the man talk once in awhile about the man’s home country. You see, Josef is considered a Gypsy by people in Eddie’s small town in Illinois, and as such isn’t someone many trust easily. However, Eddie sees another side to Josef as the older man searches for news of his small village in Poland.

In the meantime Eddie is trying to grow up. He sees his older brother, Thomas, think about what the coming war means to him and Eddie begins to realize all the fan fair hides some really serious issues. Eddie struggles to understand some complex relationships he didn’t have a grasp of before he got older, and when faced with a potential life altering situation for his friends, it is up to Eddie to decide what he believes and and what he is willing to put on the line for those beliefs.

Written in a verse style and taking place over many years, we as readers get to see Eddie emerge and realize the people who surround him aren’t as perfect as he once believed and he needs to decide what to do with that knowledge.


Recommended for grades 6th and up.

 

Cold Read in the Snow October 26, 2012

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 3:05 pm
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I’m a sucker for historical fiction. I majored in college in History, and enjoy it so much. So I was excited to read a new book that the O’Neill Library just received. Set during the end of World War II, Phantoms in the Snow follows Noah, a 15 year old boy who has just lost both his parents to small pox. He is forced to go find his uncle, who turns out to belong to a unit training in the mountains outside of Denver,CO. The unit focuses on skiing and rock climbing/rappelling and other branches of the military aren’t sure what exactly their purpose is. Noah doesn’t like his uncle who seems distant and cold. However, in order to stay with his uncle and avoid going into an orphanage, he must pretend he is old enough to enlist. Growing up with pacifist parents, Noah isn’t sure how he feels about being trained to kill others. What will Noah do when he is faced with a decision to either stay with his uncle or leave, and if he leaves, where could he go? Recommended for 6th and up.

Phantoms in the Snow by Kathleen Benner Duble was a nicely passed book and will be a great read for students interested in World War II. It is nice to have a book set mostly in America during this time. I’d recommend this book for students in 6th grade and up. Enjoy!