1. Archive

Today's topic: children's books

Editor's Note: In an effort to encourage reading among young people, monthly book reviews, featuring guest reviewers, are being run. This month's reviewer is Carmen Powell, media specialist at Lecanto Middle School.

Some of the most popular books in middle school are books that have been around for a while. Students like the idea of owning books. They are able to do this through paperback book fairs and ordering through some classrooms. Three of the most popular paperback books at Lecanto Middle School are the following:

Middle School Blues, by Lou Kassem, deals with the feelings and experiences of a middle-school girl. Cindy can't understand why anyone would say this is the happiest time of a person's life. That statement must have been made by a parent. Right from the first day, middle school was like landing in the middle of a bad dream where everything was going all wrong and you couldn't find any of your friends. If that wasn't bad enough, she made two very definite enemies right away. Cindy was confused by the way everything around her was changing, including her friends and her life. Everyone around her was in the same confusion. Why doesn't someone write a guidebook on how to get through Middle School Blues? This book is especially popular with sixth-graders.

In My Side of the Mountain, Sam Gribley is tired of living in a crowded New York City apartment, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountain wilderness to forge a life of his own. No one takes him seriously, except Sam himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, $40, and some flint and steel, he must rely on his own ingenuity and the resources of the land to survive. And survive he does, alone in the mountains, Sam learns about courage, danger and the true meaning of companionship, and he captures it all in his journal. This book by author Jean Craighead George appeals to middle-school students.

During the summer of 1860, when Travis' father was away on a cattle drive to the Kansas market, an old yellow dog attaches itself to the family. In the story of Old Yeller, we see how Travis reluctantly becomes friends with him even though he thinks the mud-splattered yellow dog is a coward. He finds that when a bear attacks Travis' kid brother, the "coward" turns out to have the courage of a lion! All dog lovers will enjoy this book written by Frederick Benjamin Gipson.

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