Four Middle Level Books I Would Like to Read This Summer

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This title won the E.B. White Read Aloud Honor in 2011. It chronicles the friendship between a group of mice and a cat during the time of Charles Dickens. In fact, the author himself frequents the inn where this novel takes place. An initial listing of characters with names such as Pip alludes to the possibility of many Dickens references throughout the story. My favorite so far (on the back cover): “He was the best of toms. He was the worst of toms.”

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I see this title frequently mentioned on Twitter by other educators. After picking it up at my local book store, I sent out this tweet:

It resulted in at least half a dozen replies, all highly recommending it. This fantasy novel pits four orphans against each other in a deadly competition to impersonate the king’s missing son, in order to avoid civil war. After an initial preview, I get the feeling it is The Hunger Games meets Crispin: The Cross of Lead. The False Prince is part of a series, like the other two books mentioned.

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My kids have checked out this title as an audiobook on Playaway a few times from our public library. Their frequent laughter while listening has piqued my interest. A girl’s “hippy” parents have been kidnapped by foxes. She hires two rabbits (hence the title) after learning she can speak animal. Also fun is that the author, Mrs. Bunny, has a blog.

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Although I cannot say for sure, this second book in The Sixties Trilogy appears to combine primary historical documents from that time period with a narrative of kids experiencing the Civil Rights Movement. It almost has the feel of Brian Selznick’s books The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Thunderstruck. The difference: The artifacts and photos support the story with both imagery and facts.

What is on your reading list for middle level titles this summer? Please share in the comments.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is a 17-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th grade teacher. After seven years of teaching, he served as a dean of students, assistant principal and athletic director before becoming an elementary principal in Wisconsin Rapids. Matt is now an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District (http://mineralpointschools.org/). Matt tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com).

5 thoughts on “Four Middle Level Books I Would Like to Read This Summer”

  1. I would have to add the third book in the Klise sister series 43 Old Cemetery Road: Till Death Do Us Bark. The first two were fast, delightful, brilliant.

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  2. We love Cheshire Cheese Cat and False Prince. We are looking forward to reading Revolution this summer too. Are you sharing your list with your students? It would be fun to have book clubs. We love that you are going public with your summer reading!
    Clare and Tammy

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