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Marching to the Mountaintop / Fire in the Streets

January 1st, 2014 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | January | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Marching to the Mountaintop / Fire in the Streets)

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Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights, and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Hours by Ann Bausum. National Geographic, 2012

1. What are some of the factors that led to the garbage workers deciding to strike in Memphis?

2. Why was Martin Luther King, Jr., initially reluctant to come to Memphis? What made him change his mind?

3. There are several major stories in this book: the Memphis garbage workers’ strike; the shifting focus of Martin Luther King’s activism from racism to poverty; and King’s assassination.  What did you learn about the connection among these three things?

 

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Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon . Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2012

1. What does Maxie find so appealing about being part of the Black Panthers?

2. Based on what you know about Maxie in the story, why do you think she decides to turn in her brother? If you were in Maxie’s position, what do you think you would do?

3. This story is set in 1968, a time of great political and racial turmoil. What details did you find especially interesting about that time? Were there things that struck you as being very different from—or similar to—today?

 

Books for Middle School Age

After Eli

December 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | December | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on After Eli)

after eli cover

After Eli by Rebecca Rupp . Candlewick Press, 2012

1. Why do you think Danny keeps his Book of the Dead?

2. Danny’s memories give readers a strong sense of Eli. What do you learn about Eli as a brother and a friend through specific incidences in the book? How do you think he influenced Danny?

3. What are some things Danny figure outs about friendship through his relationships with Isabelle and Walter?

 

 

Books for Middle School Age

Mighty Mars Rovers / Moonbird

November 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in November | Middle School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Mighty Mars Rovers / Moonbird)

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The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch. Houghton Mifflin, 2012

 

 

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Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012

 

 

 

1. What are some of the ways birdwatchers have helped scientists understand the rufa red knot?

2. How does Moonbird’s story show the interconnectedness of ecosystems?

3. How does the Mars Rover story show the interconnectedness of scientific disciplines?

4. Scientists working with the Mars Rovers seemed to develop emotional attachments to Spirit and Opportunity. Did you feelconcern for these pieces of equipment when they encountered problems on Mars or lost communication with Earth? How does that make you feel about research in space?

5. How are these two extraordinarily long journeys similar and different?

 

Books for Middle School Age

Dark Lord / Friends with Boys

October 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in October | Middle School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Dark Lord / Friends with Boys)

dark lord cover
Dark Lord: The Early Years by Jamie Thomson. Walker, 2012

1. If your arch enemy banished you to an alternate universe, what would it be like?

2. Why do you think the author decided to include a ghost story?

3. Which supporting character(s) in these books would you like to have you welcoming you to a new situation? What appealed to you about this character?

 

 

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Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks . First Second, 2012

1. What are some of the ways Maggie changes in terms of how she sees herself and members of her family over the course of the story?

2. Maggie is not used to the social dynamics of high school. What does she learn from her friendship with Lucy and Alistair?

3. Why do you think it’s so important to Maggie to help the ghost? Why do you think the author chose to leave the ghost’s story unsolved?

 

Books for Middle School Age

Wonder

September 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in September | Middle School | 2013-2014 - (Comments Off on Wonder)

wonder cover

Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012

1. The kids on Auggie’s welcoming committee have been hand-picked by the principal. Why do you think the kids the principal picked aren’t all as welcoming as the principal might have wished? How do you think you would respond if you were a member of Auggie’s welcoming committee?

2. Jack and Summer both want to be good friends to Auggie but each one struggles in different ways. What do you think is Jack’s biggest challenge? What about Summer’s? How does Auggie respond to each of them?

3. What do you think is gained by telling Auggie’s story from so many different points of view? Which character’s perspective did you appreciate the most, and why?

 

Books for Middle School Age

Miracle’s Boys

June 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | 2012-2013 | Summer - (Comments Off on Miracle’s Boys)

Miracle's Boys cover
Miracles Boys by Jacqueline Woodson. Putnam, 2000

Books for Middle School Age

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Red Glass

June 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | 2012-2013 | Summer - (Comments Off on Red Glass)

Red Glass cover
Red Glass by Laura Resau. Delacorte, 2007

Books for Middle School Age

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Rules

June 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | 2012-2013 | Summer - (Comments Off on Rules)

Rules cover
Rules by Cynthia Lord. Scholastic Press, 2006

Books for Middle School Age

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Bird in a Box

May 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | 2012-2013 | May - (Comments Off on Bird in a Box)

Bird in a Box cover
Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. Little, Brown, 2011

1. Why was Joe Louis such a powerful figure for the African American community?

2. The radio was an important way to build community in this story. How do today’s technologies both build community and isolate us from one another?

3. What do you think happened to the characters after the story ended?

Books for Middle School Age

Inside Out & Back Again

April 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | 2012-2013 | April - (Comments Off on Inside Out & Back Again)

Inside Out and Back Again cover
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanha Lai. HarperCollins, 2011

1. What makes newcomers an easy target for bullies?

2. What did Ha miss most about Vietnam? What would you miss if you moved to another country?

3. In what ways is Ha’s sense of herself different from how others view her?

Books for Middle School Age

Dead End in Norvelt

March 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | 2012-2013 | March - (Comments Off on Dead End in Norvelt)

Dead End in Norvelt cover
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011

1. What are ways you tell this book is set in the 1960s rather than today?

2. Jack reads history to escape his boredom. What do you do?

3. Why do Jack and Miss Volker make a good team?

Books for Middle School Age

A Monster Calls

February 1st, 2013 | Posted by schliesman in Middle School | February | 2012-2013 - (Comments Off on A Monster Calls)

A Monster Calls cover
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Illustrated by Jim Kay. Candlewick Press, 2011

1. Why is it so hard for Connor to sort out what is real and what isn’t real?

2. How do the illustrations affect your understanding of the story?

3. Why is telling the truth so difficult for Connor? How is it difficult for you?

Books for Middle School Age

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