All posts in Reading Lists: Middle School

164 Chapter Books for Difficult Situations: #MGGetsReal

166 Chapter Books for Difficult Situations: #MGGetsReal

Please welcome my guest blogger today, Kerry Cerra. She’s the author of Just a Drop of Water (9/11 and Religious Intolerance), but she’s here today with author friends –Shannon Wiersbitzky of What Flowers Remember (Alzheimer’s),Kathleen Burkinshaw of The Last Cherry Blossom (Hiroshima), Joyce Moyer Hostetter of Comfort (War Trauma), and Shannon Hitchcock of Ruby Lee & Me (School Integration) — to create a comprehensive list of realistic fiction for middle grade (ages 9 and up).

This list of 165 chapter books covers a plethora of topics. Let me know if you need a category that isn’t listed. I hope you find this list as useful and I do!

  • Chapter Books with Abandonment
  • Chapter Books with Verbal or Physical Abuse
  • Chapter Books with ADD/ADHD
  • Chapter Books with Adoption/Foster Care
  • Chapter Books with Substance Abuse
  • Chapter Books with Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Chapter Books Covering Anxiety
  • Chapter Books with Autism/Asperger’s
  • Chapter Books with Blended Families
  • Chapter Books with Body Image Issues
  • Chapter Books with Bullying
  • Chapter Books with Civil Rights/Integration
  • Books for Tweens with Deaf/Hearing Loss
  • Chapter Books with Death of a Parent/Grandparent
  • Chapter Books with Death of a Sibling
  • Chapter Books with Depression and Mental Illness
  • Chapter Books with Discrimination & Prejudices (religious, ethnic, etc.)
  • Chapter Books with Divorce
  • Chapter Books with Dyslexia
  • Diverse Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books with Eyesight/Blindness
  • Feeling like You’re a Bad Friend Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books About Following Your Dreams Despite Odds
  • Chapter Books with Gifted Characters
  • Chapter Books on Homelessness
  • Chapter Books Dealing with Illness
  • Chapter Books on Immigration
  • Books with LGBTQ
  • Chapter Books with Physical Disability/Disfiguration
  • Chapter Books with Self-Doubt
  • Chapter Books with Stepfamilies
  • Chapter Books with Suicide
  • Chapter Books with Survivor’s Guilt
  • Chapter Books About Wanting to Fit In
  • Chapter Books with War Trauma

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Hands down my favorite thing about visiting schools as an author is the ability to recommend books to readers. Of course I speak about my own novel, but I always bring others with me. Lots of them. Why? Because I wholeheartedly believe it’s important for kids to be able see themselves in a story, and I know my book may not be that book for everyone. So I’m thrilled to be part of an exciting campaign, #MGGetsReal, with four other awesome authors. Our goal is simple: to highlight books which kids can relate to on a personal level—so they don’t feel so alone, afraid, or different.

All most of us have to do is remember back to our pre-teen years to know that kids long to feel one with the masses. To be accepted. To fit in. The recent video of a young girl, Emma, from Texas who wears a prosthetic leg is proof of this. With videotape rolling, Emma’s excitement is palpable as she realizes she’s getting an amazing gift, an American Girl doll. And lucky for myself and the millions (yes, millions) of viewers who have now seen the footage, we witness Emma’s genuine happy-shock reaction when she opens the box to discover that the doll is actually sporting a prosthetic leg just like her own. Seriously? Can you imagine anything better for this girl? Go ahead and view it here, but be careful, for Emma’s tears are infectious!

My own middle-grade novel, Just a Drop of Water, is the story of two thirteen-year-old boys—one Christian, one Muslim—and how their friendship is tested in the wake of September 11, 2001. It has strong themes of friendship, loyalty, bullying, and peace. Every so often at a school visit, I’ll encounter a Muslim student who pulls me aside to say how much the book, particularly the character of Sam, resonates with them and to thank me for writing it.

A handful of times, I’ve had kids tell me they are like the main character Jake. They too only see the world in black and white. With no gray. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. They are Jake! And like Jake, they sometimes get in trouble for it. I feel like the luckiest author in the world when I get to have these important discussions with them about how it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in, but to do so peacefully. And to know that sometimes my book is one that a kid connects to in such a personal way, well, it’s singlehandedly the reason why I write!

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Top 10: Baseball Chapter Books for Kids

Top 10: Baseball Books for Kids & GIVEAWAY

In the spirit of teamwork, Frank Nappi and I came up with our favorite Top 10 Baseball Books for Kids. We are also giving away his book, The Legend of Mickey Tussler.

It’s baseball season in Boston and that can only mean the Red Sox and checking the schedule to see when the home games are because traffic is brutal in the Fenway on game days.

My kids chuckle to see adults pouring off the subway decked out in Red Sox gear, happy and giddy as kids on their way to a game. But that’s the beauty of baseball games. It makes everyone young again.

Win, lose or draw, you can aways count on the food at Fenway Park, Sweet Caroline at the seventh inning stretch, and the history of the stadium to seep in to give you an experience that says a perfect Boston day!

How about you? Who are you rooting for?

p.s. Red Sox fans might like photographs by my friend Sharon Schindler. Her Fenway Park photos are extremely popular around these parts.

Sharon Schindler Photography Red Sox Fenway Park art Read more…

Who Dream of Flying

10 Books for Children Who Dream of Flying

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Carole Boston Weatherford! Her novel in verse just came out, a stunning perspective of the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen during Jim Crow WWII America. This is a family endeavor, the dramatic scratch board illustrations are by her son, Jeffrey Boston Weatherford.

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffrey Boston Weatherford

… before 1940, African Americans could not become pilots in the U.S. military.

Carole Boston Weatherford’s novel in verse tells the story of the Tuskegee Airman, the pioneering African-American pilots of World War II and of life for blacks during this time. Jim Crow laws permeated the military during this time; the SS Mariposa actually had a rope to separate black soldiers from white. But it also curtailed training and leadership opportunities for African Americans, both male and female. Top brass claimed that blacks for not fit to fly.

Of the more than 400,000 pilots trained by the Civilian Pilot Training Program, only 2,000 were black; less than half of a percent. With tremendous pressure to prove their worthiness,The Tuskegee Airmen earned 900 plus medals including Distinguished Crossed, Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts. Their accomplishments paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. [novel in verse, ages 9 and up]

She created a list of books for children who dream of taking to the skies … not unlike the pioneering aviators of the Tuskegee Institute. Need more books about flying? I have a list of female aviators: Fabulous Flying Females. What books about flying did we leave out? Thanks for sharing! Read more…

Top 10 Best Historical Fiction Books for Kids

Top 10 Best Historical Fiction Books for Kids & GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome author Deborah Hopkinton who is guest posting with her favorite historical fiction books for kids. She also has a new book out, A Bandit’s Tale, and we’re doing a giveaway too below!

Top 10 Best Historical Fiction Books for Kids, Deborah Hopkinton

My new book, A Bandit’s Tale, is historical fiction, a genre I’ve loved since childhood. I like being transported into a different time and place and seeing how other writers play with history.

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Top 10 Super Hero Girls

Top 10 Undercover Super Hero Girls

I’m really excited to have author Lisa Yee guest posting today! She has a new middle-grade novel series showcasing the DC Super Hero Girls. This new series brings all-new stories to life beyond what was in cartoons and will let the Super Hero Girls have new adventures!

In Yee’s middle grade series, these iconic DC Comics characters are your {typical} high schoolers. Ok, maybe not. At Super Hero High, the galaxy’s most powerful teens nurture their powers and master the fundamentals of what it means to be a hero.

In the first book BY LISA YEE!!, the student body is about to meet their strongest classmate yet – Wonder Woman!

DC SUPER HERO GIRLS #1: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High released a few days ago, on March 1, 2016. Get it while it’s hot off the presses!

Wonder Woman Super Hero High by Lisa Yee Read more…

Basketball Books for kids

March Madness: Basketball Books for Every Kid (ages 4 and up)!

This basketball post was inspired by The Harlem Globetrotters video that I watched on The Kid Should See This. It’s a wonderful combination of Stomp and the Globetrotters.

Then I learned of the sad passing of the “crown prince” of basketball Meadowlark Lemon at age 82 just recently so I dedicate this list to him. He brought so much joy to everyone with his basketball skill and humor.

Even though my kids are not currently playing basketball, I believe that basketball is for everyone. My kids’ elementary school uses the NCAA basketball playoffs for a March Madness Reading Competition that gets everyone reading like crazy in order to win an extra Physical Education session. The competition itself is more about reading than basketball, but each class draws a college team and extra points are earned if the team does well.

Basketball for sport. Basketball as music. Basketball to get kids reading. It’s very versatile!

Why not read basketball books this March to get in on the madness? What are you favorite basketball books? Thanks for sharing! Read more…

YA Dystopia for Middle School

Dystopian YA Like The Giver, Legend and Hunger Games

PickyKidPix reading Legend by Marie Lu

PickyKidPix has very specific tastes in books. She likes realistic fiction and dystopian, and that’s it. No fantasy, nonfiction, or action adventure for her. No Percy Jackson (boring), Harry Potter (snooze), or even YA chick lit romance. She also likes her realistic fiction be pretty dramatic. Special needs characters are a plus for her.

Even with such a limited range of books, her blog has garnered a lot of traffic for her book posts. Her third grade book list written as a third grader generally spends time on the page 1 of a google search.

7th Grade Books from a 7th Grader

6th Grade Chapter Books from a 6th Grader

5th Grade Book Recommendations from a 5th Grader

4th Grade Books I Liked When I Was In 4th Grade

4th Grade Chapter Books by a Picky 4th Grader

4th Grade Books Recommended by a Fourth Grader

Top 10: Best Books for 3rd Grade by Me (A Third Grade Girl Who is Very Picky)

Now that she’s reading YA dystopia which is not my cup of tea, I am at a loss to find her more books. And god knows that I stress out when she doesn’t have any books to read, because reading is a low on her priority list. Luckily, my Instagram followers were willing to assist me.
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Summer Reading Lists for Middle School Kids

Countdown: My #5 Most Popular Post of 2015

Summer Reading Lists for Middle School Kids

My #5 most popular post is Summer Reading Lists for Middle School Kids, a compilation of reading list posts. This reminds me that I either need to update these compilation of book lists or make one definitive List of My Book Lists. What is your suggestion? Thanks for your advice!

Diversity Picture Books for 8th Grade

Diversity Picture Books for 8th Grade

PickyKidPix is now in 8th grade but only less than half way through. She tells me that her curriculum covers Colonial America, Industrial Revolution in science, American Revolution, Civil War, French and Indian War, Constitution,  and Racism.

I’m creating multicultural picture book lists for middle school in hopes of helping teachers cover their curriculum. I hope that they will participate in Multicultural Children’s Book Day Classroom Reading Challenge. They can earn a FREE hardcover diversity book provided by reading four picture books during the month of January. Sign up here.

What books should I add to this list? Thanks for your help!

p.s. Here are all the books in this series:

 

Colonial America Picture Book for 8th Grade

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland’s Good Fortune by P. J. Lynch

P. J. Lynch’s masterful watercolor paintings and vivid prose told from the perspective of young John Howland bring to life the difficulties of the Mayflower settlers. John is an indentured servant and his master and mistress seek religious freedom in the New World. His adventure begins with certain death should he be caught before boarding the Mayflower. Once aboard, the voyage is plagued with misfortune. John gets cast out to sea when a big wave hits the desk, and survives miraculously because a rope trailed behind the ship. Life in the New World is not easier. Only half of the pilgrims survive the brutal New England winter but the local Native Americans, the Wampanoag, prove to be their saviors. When John Howland’s Mistress and Master die, he is freed of his indentured servitude. Should he stay in this new world or return home? [advanced picture book, ages 8 and up]

Read more…