Just wondering for any of you who teach middle school, what recent books you're using in your middle school English classes. I've found that I don't usually teach these books to a whole class, but a lot of times I'll do some group reading projects and divide the kids up by interest.
Some of my favorites
Tangerine by Edward Bloor
Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt
The Art of Keeping Cool by Janet Taylor Lisle
The Watsons go To Birmingham - 1963
Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury
I've actually taught The Watsons to a few classes and it's a really fun one to do and there's a lot you can do with because of the historical context it's in. I tend to like the historical ones and funny ones and the Watsons fits both of those categories. I'm currently reading Al Capone does my Shirts. I love it.
Other modern middle school books that you like?
My favorite is The Giver. I also like to teach Call of the Wild, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Warriors Don't Cry, Bad Boy, Red Scarf Girl, Anne Frank, A Christmas Carol, A Midsummer Night's Dream and for advanced classes, The Book Thief. This is such a great time to teach! However, sometimes it is challenging to find books with enough meat on them to really teach. That's why The Giver is my favorite middle school book.
Persepolis is an interesting new take on the Anne Frank Model. I believe this book can find itself working on many different grade levels
How about the Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter series? I taught middle school with the gifted program for a year before we left Florida, and I did Nancy Atwell's reading/writing program. We did a few books in literature circles (especially during the Holocaust Unit...seven groups, seven different books...worked out great!), but mostly they read from the library in the school and in my classroom. Every friday they gave 5-7 minutes book talks to speak of the book they had recently finished or were about to finish not giving away the ending, but encouraging others to read it.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau are great science fiction novels that middle schoolers as well as adults find engaging. The novels have many nuances and can be discussed in a plethora of ways. But even more than that, the novels are about young children doing great things which is always inspiring.