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Our January topic: What are the best Middle School books of 2006?

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  • BudNotBuddy@aol.com
    Our first topic of business will be to share our favorite middle school titles published in 2006. Of course, this will immediately bring up the issue of
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 6, 2007
      Our first topic of business will be to share our favorite middle school titles published in 2006.  Of course, this will immediately bring up the issue of what is a middle school book.  Feel free to discuss this also.
       
      Richie
       
    • Deb
      Hi everyone, I have enjoyed the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. Waiting for Friday to published sometime in the next few months. Many students
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 7, 2007
        Hi everyone,

        I have enjoyed the 'Keys to the Kingdom' series by Garth Nix. Waiting
        for 'Friday' to published sometime in the next few months. Many
        students have got hooked on Mr Monday and then flow onto the other books.

        Deb
      • judimoreillon
        There are two quite different books that stand out in my mind for 2006. One, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, fits most of my criteria for a middle school book.
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 7, 2007

          There are two quite different books that stand out in my mind for 2006.

           

          One, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, fits most of my criteria for a "middle school book." The protagonist, Liz Hall, is a 15-year-old high school student. Middle school students are drawn to characters who are slightly older than themselves. Liz is killed in a hit and run while riding her bike. The story is about her experiences in "Elsewhere," what may commonly be referred to as heaven. She meets Grandma Betty who had died before Liz was born. In time, she learns to love Betty, forgives the man who killed her, and falls in love. In Elsewhere, people age in reverse - meaning they grow younger until they are babies again who will return to earth. This story invites readers to ponder some big questions without making them overly conscious of its moral underpinnings. Teen "problems" combined with speculation about a hopeful afterlife make this book a winner for middle schoolers.

           

          The second book is one that many middle school students may not choose or be drawn to on their own. I call it a "middle school book that needs a PR person." Teacher-librarians and classroom teachers need to step up for these books. For me, A Wreath for Emmett Till written by Marilyn Nelson and illustrated by Philippe Lardy, is last year's middle school tour de force. Nelson's sonnets about the lynched teen are filled with raw, emotional power. (It's good for students to learn that sonnets did not become extinct with Shakespeare's death.) Lardy's illustrations are stunning and equally intense. Together, their work will affect both the reader's heart and mind and perhaps social conscience as well. This kind of history learning can make youth care and connect. Illustrated books for middle readers appeal to their preferences for visual information – and should be used as centerpieces in middle school curriculum.

           

          Thanks for starting this group, Ritchie. I look forward to learning what adults who read middle school books and who work with middle school students think about the incredible diversity of titles available to youth.

           

          Best,

          Judi


        • poseystar
          One of my favorites this year was The Death Collectors by Justin Richards. It s perfect for kids who like historical novels that scary, suspenseful, funny,
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 7, 2007
            One of my favorites this year was The Death Collectors by Justin Richards. It's perfect for kids
            who like historical novels that scary, suspenseful, funny, and full of action. It's got it all
            really - likeable characters with realistic quirks, and a plot that won't quit. I'm recommending
            it to everybody!
            >
          • kahnbrenda
            Hi Judi, Ritchie and everyone else, Ritchie, this is such a great idea! Something a bit closer to home. Thanks for thinking of it and starting it. I second
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 7, 2007
              Hi Judi, Ritchie and everyone else,

              Ritchie, this is such a great idea! Something a bit closer to home. Thanks for thinking of it
              and starting it.

              I second Judi's choices and would add Lush by Natasha Friend and Ptolemy's Gate by
              Jonathan Stroud. I read A Wreath for Emmett Till after the eighth grade learned about
              sonnets and after I showed them a PowerPoint and showed part of a PBS documentary. It
              was one of the times you could hear a pin drop in the library. It was a very powerful
              lesson. Thanks for sharing that title.

              Lush, while not being the greatest piece of literature-the plot stretches a little thin in
              places-nails the dynamic of a family of an alcoholic so well that I just have to put it up
              here. Patricia McCormack did a great job as well in her earlier book, My Brother's Keeper
              (but that is not 2006). I bought several copies of Lush and booktalked it. My principal read
              it and passed it on to several teachers who have similar problems in their own families and
              in their classrooms. The book is hardly on the shelf. My seventh and eighth grade girls
              love Friend's earlier book - Perfect, about an eating disorder.

              I really enjoyed the entire trilogy and thought that Ptolemy's Gate was an exciting and
              poignant end with interesting and believeable character growth/ change.

              Brenda Kahn


              --- In middle_school_lit@yahoogroups.com, "judimoreillon" <storypower@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > There are two quite different books that stand out in my mind for 2006.
              >
              >
              >
              > One, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, fits most of my criteria for a
              > "middle school book." The protagonist, Liz Hall, is a
              > 15-year-old high school student. Middle school students are drawn to
              > characters who are slightly older than themselves. Liz is killed in a
              > hit and run while riding her bike. The story is about her experiences in
              > "Elsewhere," what may commonly be referred to as heaven. She
              > meets Grandma Betty who had died before Liz was born. In time, she
              > learns to love Betty, forgives the man who killed her, and falls in
              > love. In Elsewhere, people age in reverse - meaning they grow younger
              > until they are babies again who will return to earth. This story invites
              > readers to ponder some big questions without making them overly
              > conscious of its moral underpinnings. Teen "problems" combined
              > with speculation about a hopeful afterlife make this book a winner for
              > middle schoolers.
              >
              >
              >
              > The second book is one that many middle school students may not choose
              > or be drawn to on their own. I call it a "middle school book that
              > needs a PR person." Teacher-librarians and classroom teachers need
              > to step up for these books. For me, A Wreath for Emmett Till written by
              > Marilyn Nelson and illustrated by Philippe Lardy, is last year's
              > middle school tour de force. Nelson's sonnets about the lynched teen
              > are filled with raw, emotional power. (It's good for students to
              > learn that sonnets did not become extinct with Shakespeare's death.)
              > Lardy's illustrations are stunning and equally intense. Together,
              > their work will affect both the reader's heart and mind and perhaps
              > social conscience as well. This kind of history learning can make youth
              > care and connect. Illustrated books for middle readers appeal to their
              > preferences for visual information – and should be used as
              > centerpieces in middle school curriculum.
              >
              >
              >
              > Thanks for starting this group, Ritchie. I look forward to learning what
              > adults who read middle school books and who work with middle school
              > students think about the incredible diversity of titles available to
              > youth.
              >
              >
              >
              > Best,
              >
              > Judi
              >
            • Sheila Newell
              Hi-I just joined the group- I second Ptolemy s Gate and Lush. Another book that has had huge appeal to my 7th graders is Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, as well
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 7, 2007

                Hi—I just joined the group—

                 

                I second Ptolemy’s Gate and Lush.  Another book that has had huge appeal to my 7th graders is Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, as well as its sequel New Moon. 

                 


                From: middle_school_lit@yahoogroups.com [mailto:middle_school_lit@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of kahnbrenda
                Sent: Sunday, January 07, 2007 9:53 AM
                To: middle_school_lit@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [middle_school_lit] Re: Our January topic: What are the best Middle School books of 2006?

                 

                Hi Judi, Ritchie and everyone else,

                Ritchie, this is such a great idea! Something a bit closer to home. Thanks for thinking of it
                and starting it.

                I second Judi's choices and would add Lush by Natasha Friend and Ptolemy's Gate by
                Jonathan Stroud. I read A Wreath for Emmett Till after the eighth grade learned about
                sonnets and after I showed them a PowerPoint and showed part of a PBS documentary. It
                was one of the times you could hear a pin drop in the library. It was a very powerful
                lesson. Thanks for sharing that title.

                Lush, while not being the greatest piece of literature-the plot stretches a little thin in
                places-nails the dynamic of a family of an alcoholic so well that I just have to put it up
                here. Patricia McCormack did a great job as well in her earlier book, My Brother's Keeper
                (but that is not 2006). I bought several copies of Lush and booktalked it. My principal read
                it and passed it on to several teachers who have similar problems in their own families and
                in their classrooms. The book is hardly on the shelf. My seventh and eighth grade girls
                love Friend's earlier book - Perfect, about an eating disorder.

                I really enjoyed the entire trilogy and thought that Ptolemy's Gate was an exciting and
                poignant end with interesting and believeable character growth/ change.

                Brenda Kahn

                --- In middle_school_ lit@yahoogroups. com, "judimoreillon" <storypower@ ...> wrote:

                >
                >
                > There are two quite different books that stand out in my mind for 2006.
                >
                >
                >
                > One, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, fits most of my criteria for a
                > "middle school book." The protagonist, Liz Hall, is a
                > 15-year-old high school student. Middle school students are drawn to
                > characters who are slightly older than themselves. Liz is killed in a
                > hit and run while riding her bike. The story is about her experiences in
                > "Elsewhere," what may commonly be referred to as heaven. She
                > meets Grandma Betty who had died before Liz was born. In time, she
                > learns to love Betty, forgives the man who killed her, and falls in
                > love. In Elsewhere, people age in reverse - meaning they grow younger
                > until they are babies again who will return to earth. This story invites
                > readers to ponder some big questions without making them overly
                > conscious of its moral underpinnings. Teen "problems" combined
                > with speculation about a hopeful afterlife make this book a winner for
                > middle schoolers.
                >
                >
                >
                > The second book is one that many middle school students may not choose
                > or be drawn to on their own. I call it a "middle school book that
                > needs a PR person." Teacher-librarians and classroom teachers need
                > to step up for these books. For me, A Wreath for Emmett Till written by
                > Marilyn Nelson and illustrated by Philippe Lardy, is last year's
                > middle school tour de force. Nelson's sonnets about the lynched teen
                > are filled with raw, emotional power. (It's good for students to
                > learn that sonnets did not become extinct with Shakespeare' s death.)
                > Lardy's illustrations are stunning and equally intense. Together,
                > their work will affect both the reader's heart and mind and perhaps
                > social conscience as well. This kind of history learning can make youth
                > care and connect. Illustrated books for middle readers appeal to their
                > preferences for visual information – and should be used as
                > centerpieces in middle school curriculum.
                >
                >
                >
                > Thanks for starting this group, Ritchie. I look forward to learning what
                > adults who read middle school books and who work with middle school
                > students think about the incredible diversity of titles available to
                > youth.
                >
                >
                >
                > Best,
                >
                > Judi
                >

              • Julie
                I d be interested in hearing how the group defines/labels/classifies a middle school book? I like how this list combines librarians, teachers, and other book
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 10, 2007
                  I'd be interested in hearing how the group defines/labels/classifies a
                  middle school book?

                  I like how this list combines librarians, teachers, and other book
                  fans. As a librarian, middle school books can be challenging to
                  identify, or to lead readers to... sometimes "middle school books" are
                  shelved in juvenile fiction and sometimes with young adult.

                  Julie Ranelli
                  Children's/Young Adult Librarian
                  Queen Anne's County Free Library
                  Stevensville, MD
                  jranelli@...

                  --- In middle_school_lit@yahoogroups.com, BudNotBuddy@... wrote:
                  >
                  > Our first topic of business will be to share our favorite middle
                  school
                  > titles published in 2006. Of course, this will immediately bring
                  up the issue of
                  > what is a middle school book. Feel free to discuss this also.
                  >
                  > Richie
                  >
                  > Richie Partington
                  > _http://richiespicks.com_ (http://richiespicks.com/)
                  > _http://www.myspace.com/richiespicks_
                  (http://www.myspace.com/richiespicks)
                  > BudNotBuddy@...
                  >
                • willow_whedon
                  Our January topic: What are the best Middle School books of 2006? Shug by Jenny Han Rules by Cynthia Lord Pieces of Georgia by Jennifer Bryant Hugging the Rock
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jan 14, 2007
                    Our January topic: What are the best Middle School books of 2006?

                    Shug by Jenny Han
                    Rules by Cynthia Lord
                    Pieces of Georgia by Jennifer Bryant
                    Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown
                    Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley
                    M.M. Blume
                    Just for You to Know by Cheryl Harness
                    Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

                    Best 2006 Teen/YA books which are appropriate for middle school:

                    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
                    Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman
                    Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
                    The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

                    Series and sequels:
                    Two Steps Forward by Rachel Cohn (sequel to The Steps)
                    May Bird Among the Stars by Jodi Lynn Anderson (second in the May Bird
                    trilogy)

                    Little Willow
                    http://www.rocktherock.com/
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