With school out for the summer, many middle schoolers are happy to close their books until September. However, summer is the perfect opportunity for kids of all ages to explore new books and genres they might not get to read during the school year. The following books are the perfect companions for your middle school student this summer.
• - Smile – Raina Telgemeier This graphic novel is perfect for reluctant readers who may not be enticed by a traditional novel. Smile tells the story of Raina, a 6th grade girl who injures her two front teeth during a fall. Between braces, headgear, friend drama, confusing boys, and even an earthquake, Smile has action, humor, and heart.
• - The True Meaning of Smekday – Adam Rex An alien race called the Boov have taken over the Earth, renamed it Smekland, and are forcing all humans to move onto preserves. Tip is an 11-year-old girl who has been separated from her mother and is trying to find her. With the help of a bumbling Boov named J. Lo, Tip’s adventures are out of this world. The True Meaning of Smekday was the inspiration behind the animated film Home. Watch the movie after reading the book and discuss the similarities and differences!
• - Brain Jack – Brian Falkner In the not-so-distant future, neuro-headsets have replaced keyboards. The 14-year-old hacker Sam hacks into a major network, setting off a chain of events that could affect the whole world.
• - Show Off: How To Do Absolutely Everything. One Step At A Time – Sarah Hines Stephens. Filled with step-by-step illustrations on how to do everything from draw manga to breed butterflies to put an egg in a bottle, Show Off is a sure way to ensure your middle schooler never says “I’m bored” this summer.
• - Nature Girl – Jane Kelly. Megan is 11 years old andforced to spend her summer in Vermont with no friends, internet, or even cell phone service. Getting lost on the Appalachian Trail, however, teaches Megan lessons in maturity and self-confidence.
• - I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai Before becoming the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, Malala was an average 10-year-old girl living in Pakistan with her parents and family. Her belief that girls should be allowed to learn and go to school made her a target by the Taliban, who shot her at point blank range in 2012. Her story of survival is inspirational for all ages, but especially for middle school students who will be awed by someone their age making a major difference in the world.