My final summer reading list is for middle school readers, the kids “in between” middle grade and young adult books. The eight books listed below include characters and dialogue unique to the experience of kids ages 12 to 14.
The Green Bicycle by Haifaa Al-Mansour (A repeat from last year’s list, but one students always enjoy. A timely and inspiring novel – based on an excellent movie called Wadjda. The story of a young girl who wants a bicycle. Simple enough, right? But she lives in Saudi Arabia where it’s considered improper for a girl to ride a bike. It would be fun to read the book and then have a movie night!)
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (I included this book on my last post. It’s on my list of books for middle grade readers, and I would recommend it to adults as well. This is a story about family and friends. A common theme in an uncommonly memorable book.)
Posted by John David Anderson (The perfect book for social media enthusiasts. After cell phones are banned at school, kids begin leaving messages on Post-it notes which, because they are displayed for all to see, are often more hurtful.)
The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall (Pearsall’s novel was published in 2015, and it’s become one of the books I hand to middle school students who are struggling to find a good book – one they will want to keep reading. Pearsall’s novel hasn’t failed me yet! Set in 1963, The Seventh Most Important Thing is the story of Arthur, a 13-year-old boy, who learns seven important lessons while helping a local “junk man” with his artistic masterpiece.)
York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (The first installment of a new series, set in an alternative New York City)
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge (500 pages of high fantasy and imaginative word play. Link to the Guardian’s glowing review:
Refugee by Alan Gratz (This book will be published on July 25, but I recommended it to several of our students as an August read. Three young refugees from three different times and places: Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo. It’s on my August list!)
Literally by Lucy Keating (Maybe an unexpected choice for this list. Literally is a smart beach book that plays with the conventions of the young adult romance.)
To prepare Inly’s summer reading list, I read lots of novels and early chapter books. After the list was distributed, what I most craved was ….a picture book! I looked for something new and beautiful, a book that stands out on the shelf, and here it is:
The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton is magical from the end pages to the final scene. Erin, the little girl at the center of the story, lives in an idyllic seaside town with her “mum” and her dog, Archie. Erin desperately wants to “go out to sea,” but she can’t because of a scary black rock. Everyone in town warns her to stay away from the rock which, naturally, makes Erin even more curious. Ultimately, she finds a way to learn the truth, and it turns out to be quite lovely. School ended a few days ago, and I’m already planning to make The Secret of Black Rock our first read aloud in September!
During the last couple weeks of school, there are lots of events involving singing and speeches and ceremonies. But the nicest hour, in my opinion, is the quiet that comes over the campus during Drop Everything and Read. While everyone was reading, I walked around the silent campus and found readers on couches, under counters, and many other creative spaces…