Don’t let your middle school students fall victim to the summer brain
drain. They can lose up to a fifth of the reading gains they made over
the last year if they don’t read through the summer. The best way
to motivate them is to find books that they love. Don’t be afraid
to start with anime, magazines, manga or comic books—if it gets
them reading they’re improving their vocabulary and communication
skills too. Here are some great reads for middle school students. This
list has something for everyone (even the reluctant readers).
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Indi comic sensation Gene Luen Yang really knocks it out of the park with
this white-knuckle thriller that will have you guessing until the very
end. Three apparently unrelated stories come together in an exploration
of Chinese culture and the difficulties of being different. It’s a riot!
Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats (a fun palindrome name) blames his grandfather for his
bad luck. Legend has it that Stanley’s grandfather stole a pig from
a gypsy who put a curse of all the Yelnats for generations to come. Stanley
is fat, kids make fun of him and now he is accused of a crime he didn’t
commit. A great read for kids who enjoy a good laugh.
The Hunger Games by Suzanns Collins
Even if you’ve watched the movies, these books are a gripping summer
read. The empowering tale of a young girl, Katniss Everdene, who takes
on the oppressive government powers in a profound portrayal of bravery.
This book does have mature themes of violence and death.
Shots on Goal by Wallace Rich
If your middle school student is crazy about soccer and can’t wait
for the World Cup to start, they will love this touching tale about Bones
who is working to help his soccer team win while dealing with a crush
on his best friend’s girlfriend.
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Twelve-year old Catherine has a lot on her plate; living with an autistic
brother makes her life very complicated. Just to make things even more
difficult, she strikes up a friendship with a paraplegic. This is a touching
and sweet exploration of what it means to be the sibling of a special
Level E by Yoshihiro Togashi
Age-appropriate anime about an alien prince who crashes his ship on earth
where he befriends a high school student. This book is short enough for
students to get into and focuses on humor. Level E can be bought in a
comic book series, as two animated art books or you can watch it on DVD.
Stuck in the Middle by Ariel Shrag
A marvellous comic about the trials and tribulations of middle school.
This anthology features some of the industry’s best artists and
story tellers. Beautifully illustrated, at times poignant, but mostly
hysterical portrayal of life in middle school.
Pic by Enokson