Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Middle School Top 20 Favorites 2007 selected by Xena's Mom

Almond, David, Skellig, Lexile 490, Reading level 3.5

Unhappy about his baby sister's illness and the chaos of moving into a dilapidated old house, Michael retreats to the garage and finds a mysterious stranger who is something like a bird and something like an angel.

Avi, Nothing but the truth

A ninth-grader's suspension for singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" during homeroom becomes a national news story.

Balliett, Blue, The Wright 3, Lexile 870, Reading level 5.7

In the midst of a series of unexplained accidents and mysterious coincidences, sixth-graders Calder, Petra, and Tommy lead their classmates in an attempt to keep Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Robie House from being demolished.

Campbell, Eric, The shark callers, Lexile 830

Two teenage boys, one on a shark hunt and the other traveling with his family, face the challenge of their lives when a volcano erupts causing a massive tidal wave in the South Seas.

Conrad, Pam, My Daniel, Lexile 780, Reading level 6.1

Ellie and Stevie learn about a family legacy when their grandmother tells them stories of her brother's historical quest for dinosaur bones on their Nebraska farm.

Coville, Bruce, Jennifer Murdley’s toad, Lexile 700, Reading level 5.9

When an ordinary-looking fifth grader purchases a talking toad, she embarks on a series of extraordinary adventures.

Crutcher, Chris, Ironman, Lexile 980, Reading level 6.8

Seventeen-year-old Beauregard (Bo) cannot get along with his domineering father and has alienated the football coach who is also his English teacher. Because of these problems, he has been assigned to an anger management class, a group of social misfits. The only area in which Bo has any success is his quest to become a biathlete, an Ironman. He begins to train with the university swim team, becoming friends with the coach. However, Bo only truly confides in talk-show host Larry King, to whom he writes a series of revealing letters about his life.

DeFelice, Cynthia, Weasel, Lexile 870, Reading level 7.0

Alone in the frontier wilderness in the winter of 1839 while his father is recovering from an injury, eleven-year-old Nathan runs afoul of the renegade killer known as Weasel and makes a surprising discovery about the concept of revenge.

DiCamillo, Kate, Because of Winn-Dixie, Lexile 610, Reading level 5.8

Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.

Fleischman, Paul, Seedfolks, Lexile 710, Reading level 5.0

One by one, a number of people of varying ages and backgrounds transform a trash-filled inner-city lot into a productive and beautiful garden, and, in doing so, the gardeners are themselves transformed.

Fletcher, Susan, Dragon’s milk, Lexile 660, Reading level 7.4

Kaeldra, an outsider adopted by an Elythian family as a baby, possesses the power to understand dragons and uses this power to try to save her younger sister, who needs dragon's milk to recover from an illness.

Funke, Cornelia, Inkheart, Lexile 780, Reading level 7.0

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father Mo, a bookbinder, can "read" fictional characters to life when an evil ruler named Capricorn, freed from the novel "Inkheart" years earlier, tries to force Mo to release an immortal monster from the story.

Malterre, Elona, The last wolf of Ireland, Lexile 580, Reading level 5.2

Despite the frightening stories they've heard about wolves, a boy and girl, living in Ireland in the 1780's, attempt to defy authority and save the last wolf left in the country.

Morpurgo, Michael, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Lexile 730, Reading level 4.3

When Michael is swept off his family's yacht, he washes up on a desert island, where he struggles to survive--until he finds he is not alone.

Paulsen, Gary, Nightjohn, Lexile 770, Reading level 4.2

Twelve-year-old Sarny's brutal life as a slave becomes even more dangerous when a newly arrived slave offers to teach her how to read.

Philbrick, W. Rodman, The young man and the sea, Lexile 800, Reading level 4.6

After his mother's death, twelve-year-old Skiff Beaman decides that it is up to him to earn money to take care of himself and his father, so he undertakes a dangerous trip alone out on the ocean off the coast of Maine to try to catch a huge blue fin tuna.

Sachar, Louis, Holes, Lexile 660, Reading level 6.5

As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.

Sleator, William, Interstellar Pig, Lexile 810, Reading level 5.0

Barney's boring seaside vacation suddenly becomes more interesting when the cottage next door is occupied by three exotic neighbors who are addicted to a game they call "Interstellar Pig."

Spinelli, Jerry, Stargirl, Lexile 590, Reading level 6.1

Stargirl, a teen who animates quiet Mica High with her colorful personality, suddenly finds herself shunned for her refusal to conform.

Staples, Suzanne Fisher, Shabanu: daughter of the wind, Lexile 970

Eleven-year old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, and must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father's wishes.