Middle School series

All posts in the Middle School series category

I am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore

Published March 9, 2014 by Dagmar

number 4I am Number Four is a fast-paced, suspenseful science fiction novel for middle schoolers.

“They caught Number One in Malaysia.  Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya.  They killed them all.  I am Number Four.  I am next.”

This is the story of Number 4, a teenager who arrived on Earth from another planet called Lorien when he was a child.  He, and the other nine Lorien Legacies, are the last hope for the planet, destroyed by the Mogadorians.  Their plan is to strengthen themselves and return to fight for Lorien.

The children are bound by a charm — provided that they never meet, the ten children can only be killed by the Mogadorians in order.  Number 4 lives with Henri, his caretaker from Lorien.  Each time the Mogadorians kill one of the Legacies, Number 4 finds out because he feels a searing pain in his ankle that turns into a scar.  Number 4 has three scars now.

Number 4 looks just like any other teenager and would love to be just like any of the kids he knows.  Unfortunately, he and Henri have to change identities all the time, moving across the United States to keep safe, never being able to make long-lasting friendships or stay settled in one place.  Will Number 4 survive?

Don’t miss this exciting first book in the Lorien Legacies series.

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia

Published June 2, 2013 by Dagmar

OCSOne Crazy Summer is an incredible book – not only because much of the book takes place just blocks from my school library in North Oakland, CA – but because the main character, Delphine, is a strong and capable 11 year old girl who really knows how to make the best of a bad situation.  I love her strength and her determination.  This book ran like wildfire around my school.

Delphine, Vonetta and Fern are three girls, 11, 9 and 7, who live with their father and Big Ma, their grandmother, in Brooklyn, NY.  Their mother, Cecile abandoned them when Fern was just a baby.  One summer, the girl’s father says the girls need to know their mother and sends them across the country to stay with their mother in Oakland, CA.  The girls, who don’t know their mother at all, are greeted by Cecile at the airport.  Cecile not only doesn’t hug them, when she takes them home, she doesn’t cook for them or care for them in any way.  Cecile sends them off every day to get their breakfast from the Black Panthers kitchen in the neighborhood and tells the girls to spend the day in the Black Panthers’ summer camp.  The girls learn all about revolution but also that the Black Panthers feed hungry people.  They also discover that their mother, a poet with a printing press, has been asked to print the Black Panther newsletter.

Delphine rises to the occasion.  She rejects her mother’s call to eat Chinese food every night and goes to the store so she can cook meals for her sisters.  She even plans an excursion into San Francisco so that the girls can actually see something of California, not just “poor people in Oakland”.  Delphine is smart. You just can’t help routing her on and hoping that her mother can see all the good that we see in her.

This book is a window into the world of the 1960s and those who believed in the work of the Black Panthers and those in the black community who saw things differently.  Delphine is forced to view both worlds, that of her father and grandma and that of her mother Cecile.  What a great book.  But, don’t just believe me.  This book won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, the Coretta Scott King Award and a Newbery Honor and National Book Award Honor.  Don’t miss it.

I’m excited to read Rita Williams-Garcia’s new book, P.S. Be Eleven.

Malice, by Christopher Wooding

Published April 27, 2013 by Dagmar

MaliceIs your tween or middle schooler looking for an edgy, sinister book?  I’m asked every day for “scary” books and usually lead my students to my ghost story collections.  But, for those kids who don’t mind dark books, read A Series of Unfortunate Events, tore through the Cirque du Freak series and are looking for more, Malice could be the answer.  It is sinister, so I’d suggest middle school for this book.

I read Malice in one sitting.  It was that good.  This smart, but scary book is part novel, part graphic novel, part fantasy.  Malice is about high school kids caught up in the mystique surrounding a comic book called Malice.  It is said that kids who perform a ritual to call the main character, “Tall Jake” disappear, sometimes for months and sometimes forever.  The pages of Malice, if you can get your hands on a copy, show the kids who have disappeared fighting for their lives in a strange fantasy world.  Little do the kids who do the ritual know that Tall Jake is real, the world of Malice is real and as terrifying and deadly as the comic book makes out.  Those that come back from having disappeared don’t remember a thing about the time they were away.  Because no one remembers Malice after they return, no one can warn the other kids about Malice and the dangers of calling Tall Jake.  Seth and his friends, once in Malice, fight for their lives and swear that they will find a way to stop Tall Jake.

This book has a sequel called Havoc which continues the story of Seth’s fight against Tall Jake.

Olympians, by George O’Connor

Published March 12, 2013 by Dagmar

zeusAnother great graphic novel series.  This series focuses on the greek gods.  The pages are full cover and the author, George O’Connor pulls from historical texts as he retells the myths of each of the gods he writes about.  The illustrations are full-color and dramatic and are a real draw for students.  The series includes books on Zeus, Athena, Hades, Hera and Poseiden to be published this month. Highly recommended for tweens and middle school readers.