Students in middle school are in a difficult time of life. They stand with one foot in childhood, one foot in adulthood. Books can help bridge that gap by meeting their interests.
Books can be powerful tools. The stories and messages can take readers to new places, to the past, to the future, introduce them to fictional and factual people. The stories can reflect their own worries, or take them away from their concerns.
Books provide abundant environments with stories to tell. When recommending books for individuals or classes to read, remember the unique demands of the middle school reader. The books listed here reflect more contemporary publications and old favorites.
Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi
Set within an adventure story Avi presents great historical detail about England's Peasant Revolt. Crispin is a new orphan who has a price put on his head for a crime he didn't commit. In attempting to find out the truth, while running from the law, Crispin learns to be his own man. In his friendship with the juggler Bear, finds truth, hope, and bravery. A Newbery Award book.
S.O.R. Losers, by Avi
A great book about building a community of friends and not giving in to the pressure to conform. What is really important to the members of the South Orange River special soccer team? It's not winning games that they are forced to play! A great book about developing your own dream and following it.
The View From Saturday, by E.L. Konigsburg
The Academic-Bowl team of from Epiphany Middle School lives up to the school's name. These shy middle schoolers each have their own epiphany about themselves and their team members. A Newbery Award book.
After the Rain, by Norma Fox Mazer
A family story of love and commitment is made even more compelling by Mazer's dialogue. Rachel explores her feelings about her grandfather when she finds out that he has cancer. A Newbery honor book.
The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The classic story of the Baxter family of Florida's backwoods. Jody Baxter is forced to decide the fate of a fawn he has lovingly raised as a pet. A story about family, love, and the hard decisions that come with young adulthood.
Dicey's Song, by Cynthia Voigt
Settling into their grandfather's home in Maryland isn't always easy. Dicy's been parenting her siblings for a while and she now needs to adjust to a new way of life. Her Grandfather Tellerman teaches Dicey that in reaching out to others we strengthen ourselves, our family, and our friendships. A Newbery Award book.
Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World, by Mildred Walter
Justin lives in a home filled with women. While visiting his grandfather Justin enjoys fishing, riding, and going to the rodeo. During the viist Justin learns about his black cowboy ancestors, life after the Civil War, and that doing "women's work"--even baking prize-winning biscuits--is part of taking care of himself.