Apr 22, 2010

My Trip Back to Middle School (or my 7th grade book talks)

Last week, in celebration of National Library Week, the public library I work at was invited into a local middle school to talk. We presented information about general library policies, events and opportunities for teens, and of course BOOKS to over 300 7th graders!

Pictured above are the 19 books I took with me. While this was a few too many, let me just tell you that there were some quite popular titles above that I think some of you may not be familiar with.

Why I Fight by J. Adams Oaks is a very unique book. It follows 6 years in the life of prize bare-knuckle fighter Wyatt Reaves. Starting from the tender age of 12, after his Uncle Spade "rescues" him from living in a homeless shelter with his mother, the story tracks Wyatt's place in society. His uncle sees the potential to makes lots of money off Wyatt's natural talents and chooses to chase that track. After years of fighting though, Wyatt starts think that maybe he wants more from his life. Does he just deserve the seedy hand he's been dealt or does he deserve something more form life? It's a great book for reluctant readers and young guys. It's written like one would expect a teen to speak, so it makes the story very accessible to readers.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is perfect for those who love historical fiction. I find this storyline fascinating and a definite twist on the traditional characters. The year is 1776 and the story is about 13 year-old Isabel, a slave. She has watched as her entire life has been decided for her. Who owns her, where she sleeps, when she works, and so much more. Isabel has no real control or rights in her own life or that of her sister. So when they are sold to Loyalists, instead of being set free as they were promised, Isabel must make a very tough decision. She can spy on her owners for the American revolutionaries or she can keep quiet and live her life, as miserable as it may be. This book is a great retelling of what might have actually happened during the American Revolution. Isabel is just a servant girl, but she had the right to freedom just the same as everyone else.

30 Days Has September by Chris Stevens is the best book in the world for students of any age and any subject. It has all sorts of nifty tricks and tips from how to remember the order of the great philosophers (go think of the SPA: Socrates, Plato, then Aristotle) to the rhyming song about the 6 wives of Henry the VIII (Kate, Anne, Jane, Anne, Cate, Kate who were divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, and survived). It also have math, grammar, commonly mispelled words, chemistry, and nifty factoids. It's a cute little book full of trivia facts and easy ways to help you keep on top of all the information there is to know.

Many of the others are ones that I have reviewed already (Candor, The Hunger Games, The Sky is Everywhere) and some are of little interest to me, but were appropriate for the audience. I had a blast talking with these kids and it was really easy to engage them. I loved asking "So, which do you want to hear about giant cockroaches or zombies?" (Gregor the Overlander and The Forest of Hands and Teeth) and hearing some kids squeal and others yell their answer. They were quite amused and many of them asked questions and wanted to know more about some books that I didn't speak about in their session. I'm very excited to get to go to another 7th grade session at another middle school in late May.

What other books do you think would be great recommendations? They can be anything from realistic to historical fiction, fantasy or sci-fi, and even non-fiction. Let me know your suggestions in the comments!


Bethie said...

I have a 6th grade boy who is an advanced and avid reader. Some of the titles that he loved were:

The Chronicles of Vladmir Tod by Heather Brewer

The Cirque du Freak series and the Demonata series both by Darren Shan

Hope that helps!

loreleimarsh said...

My co-host did Vlad Tod, I may do that one myself next time. Oo, I didn't think about Cirque de Freak!! Thanks!