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!

Soldier Boys Book Review by 7th Grader Brodey May 10, 2018

Filed under: Historical Fiction,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 8:07 am
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SBSoldier Boys by Dean Hughes is a book about two boys on the opposite sides of WWII. Spence is an American boy that struggles with school. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, his brother went into the Navy and Spence wants to become a paratrooper. He did and he meets Ted in training camp. Ted was much like Spence and they were the same age. They went into Germany to fight the Germans after they both passed basic training. On the other side, Deiter is a german boy who is 15 and is a leader in the Hitler Youth. He catches other Hitler Youth messing around and decides to let them go free. Soon after one of the boys gets shot by a French spitfire and dies. Then Deiter goes and meets Hitler and wants to go fight on the front lines. When he gets sent, he is extremely excited and meets Schaefer who guides Deiter through the war. At the bottom of a hill, the Americans run down and most get killed. The next day the Germans run up the hill and most die from artillery or gun fire. In the mists of the chaos, Deiter gets hit. Later that night Spence puts his life on the line even when he had strict orders not to.

I loved the book but the end is very sad. I liked it for the suspense and the reality of it. I would recommend this to someone who wants a good book on WWII.

 

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.

 

You Can Run, BUT Can You Hide? January 20, 2015

Growing up in Honolulu in the late 1930s is a good life for Zenji. He is surrounded by good friends and a great family. The only dark spot on his life is the fact his father was killed in an accident at Pearl Harbor before he was 10. It was hard growing up without a father, but his older brother Henry is always there for him.

imgresZenji has just finished high school and is trying to decide what to do with his life when he gets an unexpected visit from his high school JROTC officer. Colonel Blake says he has a proposition for Zenji because Zenji is so good with speaking and reading Japanese and being very proficient in English as well. While Zenji’s mother is totally against him going into the army, Zenji isn’t, and wants to see the world beyond the islands. After exhaustive testing, Zenji is admitted into the army as a CIP or member of the Corps of Intelligence Police. Basically, he will become a spy for the army.

His first assignment is to go by boat to the Philippines and stay at a hotel in Manila where a lot of Japanese business men like to stay. At first, Zenji isn’t sure how he’ll be able to help his country by spying in a hotel on Japanese businessmen. But as he spends more time in the city, he begins to realize that the tensions between the United States and Japan aren’t going away, and war might be coming faster than anyone expected.

Hunt for the Bamboo Rat by Graham Salisbury is a fascinating look at the spying involved in World War II in the pacific theater. Zenji knows if he is captured by the Japanese they will look at him as a traitor to their country, even though he isn’t a Japanese citizen. If they know he is a spy, he’ll be killed. Zenji has to walk a fine line to stay live.

Recommended for students who enjoy reading books about World War II and a look at something other than combat. Due to torture scenes in the book, it is recommended for mature 8th graders.