As a teacher, I’ve had various conversations with parents about how to get their children engaged in reading. The flip side of that conversation comes when a student is interested in reading, but won’t venture outside a specific genre. Now, at first, this might not seem like a concern. If the student is reading, isn’t […]
Five years ago I picked up a middle grade fantasy book called The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan and was hooked by the end of the first page. For those unfamiliar with Riordan’s work, his first series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” follows a middle school student, Percy, who discovers he’s a Greek demigod, and […]
Brick Flicks: A comprehensive guide to making your own stop-motion Lego movies by Sarah Herman. Skyhorse Publishing, 2014. 206 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, Ages 12-15 Recommended For: Middle Grades, Young Adult, Ages 10-up (for experienced Lego builders; may require parental assistance) Moviemaking with Legos has been going on long before the popular feature film […]
Matthew Muddles Through (Matthew in the Middle #1) by Glenda Mathes. CreateSpace, 2014, 220 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: The everyday adventures of a small-town preacher’s kid acquire eternal significance in this low-key series for middle graders. Matthew Vos belongs to a shrinking culture: the church-going, catechism-learning, […]
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2015. 198 pages including appendices Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Bottom Line: The story of how a handful of schoolboys sparked the Danish Resistance makes thrilling reading for middle-graders interested in WWII history. […]
SIX by M. M. Vaughan. Simon & Shuster (Margaret K. Elderberry Books), 2015. 361 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Ages 10-14 Bottom Line: SIX, a science-fiction novel for middle-graders, offers likeable characters and the intriguing possibility of teleportation. Parker Banks has had a lot of adjusting to do over the last […]
Fort by Cynthia DeFelice. Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2015. 200 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 10-12 (especially boys and reluctant readers) Bottom Line: Sweet-but-rough justice is served up in this boys-only summer tale that pits three losers against two bullies. Wyatt Jones, age 11, is enjoying the last of his summer […]
Illusionarium by Heather Dixon. Greenwillow Books, 2015. 368 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 15 and up Bottom Line: A darker steam-punk fantasy, Illusionarium will be enjoyed by teenage boys and girls who enjoy alternative reality. Arthurias, 1863, is an outpost colony in the North Sea populated by miners and those who love a […]
The Goods, vol. 1 by McSweeney’s. Big Picture Press, 2013. 96 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-12 Recommended For: Ages 8 and up Bottom Line: A quirky compilation of McSweeney’s magazine inserts featuring clever, witty takes on such classic kids’ magazine fare as mazes, spot the difference, secret words, jokes, and similar elements. What happens […]
*Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol. Puffin Books, reprints 2007-present. 96 pages each. Reading Level: Chapter books, Ages 4-8, Middle grades, Ages 8-10 Recommended For: Ages 4-8 (especially boys), Ages 8-10 (especially boys) Bottom line: A modest, well-read boy detective solves crimes great and small in these classic mysteries. Robberies, forgery, swindling, blackmail, bullying, and […]
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Reader edition) by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Dial, 2015. 292 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-up, especially boys Bottom Line: William Kamkwamba’s own story of his efforts to bring reliable electrical power to his impoverished African village makes fascinating reading, especially for […]
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