Big Birds and Baby Birds
Something happens in middle school. You know what I mean. Those hormones start choking out reason; your kids seem delirious! One moment they need you to listen, just sit and listen to the sagas in their life and the next moment they push you away, don’t want your advice and, really, all your ideas are so ridiculous, Mom! Seriously *eye roll*. What can be so joyful and so draining about raising a middle schooler is they want you around, they act crazy goofy, you catch glimpses of that little person who used to hang on your legs as you made dinner…and the next thing you know it is your tone or look or the way you were breathing that got on their nerves and caused a flood of tears or screeches as they headed to their room to be alone. Again.
Here’s the thing. Those wacky chemicals coursing through their veins are tossing them about on a rough sea. They do need you. And they want you around (mostly). Can you invite them to share in a good book with you? Try a read aloud. Try a book their younger siblings might not be ready to explore because of mature content and themes (see–this is the way you hook them!). Why not share a “read along” with your middle schooler? Don’t send them away to read and then come back to discuss. Instead, find time to curl up with each other and with these titles to discuss as you read along together…a read aloud you read along together.
Middle School Read Alouds–or Read Alongs
These books are some I shared with my middle schoolers when I taught. They are titles I can’t wait to share with my kids when they are a little older. Some contain subjects that might be too much for younger readers but seem to appeal to young teens because of the themes of right and wrong, fairness, cruelty, friendship and self-discovery. I hope you and your middle schooler enjoy them!
Night by Elie Weisel
A powerful autobiographical narrative of Weisel’s time in the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. It is a a short but terribly powerful read, sharing both the atrocities and the hope that with knowledge and compassion such things may never happen again.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Charlotte is a proper, young woman, who boards a ship to return home from boarding school in England, not knowing the voyage will change her in ways she never could or would have imagined. Its mussed hair, mutiny and murder on the high seas!
The Penderwicks byJeanne Birdsall
A book that made me wish I could be in middle school again so I could have discovered it as a 12 year old. Alas, I could only read this delightful summer adventure tale of 4 sisters when I was an adult. I closed it with a contented sigh. Enchanting.
Star girl by Jerry Spinelli
Luna Lovegood always reminded me of Stargirl; unique and offering no apologies for being an original. It would have been more tragic for Stargirl to conform than it was hard for her to remain true to herself. This book tackles remaining a free spirit in the face of popularity and conformity.
Enders Game by Orson Scott Card
A dystopian sci-fi book that invites tweens to imagine a crumbling world in search of a leader to save it from continual war with aliens. This story sucks everyone in–even those who claim to not really be into reading.
They Cage The Animals At Night by Jennings Michael Burch
Kindness counts. This is the paramount lesson in this autobiographical account of Burch’s childhood spent abandoned in the foster care system, how he learns to trust and eventually make friends. A story of hope that our kind words and choices make a difference to others (and ourselves) in the end.
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
One city garden plot and 13 different points of view tackling what community means and how you can grow something beautiful in the midst of disinterest and dilapidation. A short read that offers how one little change can set a big one into motion.
Like these recommendations? Why not check out the Periscope where I discuss more? Or subscribe..in my newsletter, I share even more goodies with you! Like the Facebook page and find out when I am on Live to discuss weekly invitations to offer your kids to make learning together that much better!
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