Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by the awesome ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. They created this particular feature because they love making and sharing bookish lists with their readers. Every week, there is a new topic, and bloggers are encouraged to share their own lists with everyone in the book community.
It's really easy to join:
- Go to The Broke and the Bookish to check this week's topic
- Come up with a top ten list of your own and post it
- Share your link on The Broke and Bookish
When I saw this week's topic, I was really, really excited because I am a certified English teacher. I wanted to share my list with everyone, but I almost didn't because I had two unsuccessful teaching interviews last week. But, as they say, "never give up," so I'm here today to share some of my book choices that I'd teach to middle school kids. (Yes... I really, really want to teach middle school kids. I think they are the quirkiest, and it makes for an entertaining and fulfilling day of teaching.)
Top Ten Books I'd Teach if I Taught Middle School
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman - This is a book I originally read during my senior year of college in my literary pirates class. I fell in love with the creepiness, and I think it would be a perfect book to teach to sixth or seventh graders around Halloween. Teaching them and hearing their opinions on Coraline's two different worlds would never get old.
- The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank - When I was in eighth grade, it was a requirement that everyone read the play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, but my teacher also gave us the option to read Anne's diary for extra credit. Even though I knew the outcome, I really enjoyed reading Anne's diary, and reading about what she and her family went through during the Holocaust because it's heartbreaking and real. It's something I'll never forget, and kids need to learn about what happened during the Holocaust. This is one of the most important historical memoirs that middle schoolers should be required to read.
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio - Yes, I realize that Auggie is technically a fifth grader in this novel, but I think kids would enjoy reading and learning about Auggie up until twelve or thirteen years old. I've seen some elementary school teachers and some middle school teachers use this book in their ELA classes, and it's a hit. Plus, I really think that Palacio nailed it with this one because it also raises awareness for Treacher-Collins Syndrome and other physical differences.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry - At this day and age, I think it's safe to assume that most middle school kids are familiar with dystopian literature, either by reading it or word of mouth. Lowry's The Giver is such an important text, and I don't think a middle school experience is complete without reading it.
- Holes by Louis Sachar - I read this in seventh grade, and completely loved it! To this day, it's still one of my favorite books, and I think that a lot of the themes are still relevant to today's middle school students.
- Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson - This book is full of diversity, and even though it's set in 1971, I think middle school students will take a lot away from reading it.
- A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano - This is the most current book on my list, and I'm including it because I loved it! It's written in such a beautiful, yet accessible way. I really think this one would grab the attention of even the most reluctant readers in class.
- The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - Ever since I read the books, I thought it would be such a cool experience to teach these wonderful books. There are a lot of historical parallels that could be taught alongside them, and I think even high schoolers would be interested in reading these beloved books in a different light.
- Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick - This is another book that I was introduced to in college, but I loved everything about it. I really think kids could learn a lot from the two main characters, but still enjoy the plot.
- The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - I've seen this taught to seventh graders at a local middle school, and the kids love it! I don't know if it's because the movies are really popular right now or if it's because the books are just different compared to what they normally read, but it's working. While these books are fictional, I think it would be interesting to pair them with some historical information about ancient Rome.
As you see, I have a pretty diverse collection of books. I chose these books because they are all different from one another. Some feature characters of diverse races. Others feature characters with physical features that may differ that those of most middle school students. Some of the books feature characters who don't have a standard family with a mom and a dad.
These books deal with many different emotions, and middle school is the time when emotions run wild for most students. I think reading these books while kids are changing really helps them understand the characters. Most importantly, I chose these books because they all teach wonderful lessons to children on their own, and I think that any child in sixth through eighth grade would enjoy these books.