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Incredible books for middle school students

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years ago

This is a space to recommend a recent great title for a middle school student. Please try to limit it to books still available from a bookstore. Include a brief synopsis, and any other necessary information. Try to put author's last name first, then their first name, then the title of the book and then the information.


Choldenko, Gennifer. "____Al Capone Does My Shirts____."

Moose Flanagan's family moves to Alcatraz Island, home of dangerous criminals including Capone himself, when his dad secures a position as an electrician on the island. Alcatraz is a rough place for Moose, none of the other kids on the island really play baseball and his attempts to pick up a game after school in San Francisco are complicated by his mom's need for him to watch his sister. And then there's Piper, the warden's mischevious scheming daughter...


Reading about Moose's isolation and set-backs is frustrating but watching him grow as a character and a young man is endearing. And Piper's plots, the criminal aspect, and Moose's challenges keep the book rolling along at a great clip. And as a 13-year-old student said, "It's a really great book, I'm dying to know what happens, and I can't stand Piper!"



Harrison, Troon ''____Eye of the Wolf____''

Set in the future when we've had "resource wars". Due to a second ice age, areas from Toronto and further north are completely buried under snow. People have cut holes in the rooves, and use them as a front door now because the snow is so deep. The main character, a female, has to go on a journey to find her mother, who mysteriously disappears one night. Along the way, Kiara learns a lot about herself. Not a good novel for a weak reader; would have to be a fairly capable reader to appreciate the title.



Pearsall, Shelley. "____Crooked River____".

This historical fiction novel is based on the true story of an "indian" trial set in the era when Ohio was the frontier (1812). A native American was allegedly seen committing murder with his tomahawk, and the ensuing capture, trial and hanging constitute the story novellist Pearsall uses for her writing. Since there was no jail in the town, "Indian John" as the the settlers call him, spends a few months awaiting trial chained in the attic of a family whose mother has died and daughters take on his care. Indian John's, or Amik's (his real name) gentle spirit arouse the suspicion of the girls in the house as to his guilt. Interwoven into the chapters are Amik's thoughts written as poems, providing a contrast to the prose of the 13 year-old narrator. The book may be of particular interest to Ohioans in grades 5-8, but a reader in the fourth grade studying Ohio history should also consider reading this compelling story. The Crooked River, it turns out, is the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland, but Pearsall reveals that in the epilogue. Anyone interested in multicultural literature should read this book.

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