BLOGS  >  AUGUST 11, 2022

Ignite Your Middle Grade Students' Passion for Reading

We’ve partnered with Penguin Young Readers Group and Random House Children’s Books to create a diverse collection of popular titles to engage students at all reading levels. This collection is great for your classroom library and supports student choice. 

Each book in the collection is supported by a companion lesson plan that focuses on teaching writing skills, critical reading, and literary analysis and can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom – including whole-class reading, book clubs, and independent reading for interested students. With these guides in hand, all of these books can be easily and immediately incorporated into your curriculum. 

Here are a few of our favorites from the list, but you can explore the entire list here.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet
Written by David Barclay Moore

It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating; they’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly has always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.

Download Lesson Plan  Download Discussion Guide

Song for a Whale
Written by Lynne Kelly

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be. When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him but he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him? Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

Download Lesson Plan  Download Educator Guide  Watch Author Clip

Written by Torrey Maldonado

Bryan knows what’s tight for him – reading comics, drawing superheroes, and hanging out with no drama. But drama is constant where he’s from, and that makes him tense and wound up. Now Bryan’s friend Mike pressures him with ideas of fun that are crazy risky. At first, it’s a rush following Mike, hopping turnstiles, subway surfing, and getting into all kinds of trouble. But Bryan never really feels right acting so wrong, and drama really isn’t him. So which way will he go, especially when his dad tells him it’s better to be hard and feared than liked? But if there’s one thing Bryan’s gotten from his comic heroes, it’s that he has power to stand up for what he feels.

Download Lesson Plan  Download Discussion Guide

When Stars Are Scattered
Written by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

Omar and his younger brother Hassan live in a refugee camp. When an opportunity for Omar to get an education comes along, he must decide between going to school every day or caring for his nonverbal brother in this intimate and touching portrayal of family and daily life in a refugee camp. Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings.

Download Lesson Plan   Watch Book Trailer

These marvelous middle grade reads engage students with fun, dynamic and compelling stories that also educate, inform, and inspire. These books that cover all genres including fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels are sure to capture students’ imaginations. Explore the complete list here.

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