Middle School / Books Rule!
Recommended books for grades 5-8

Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

TWELVE DAYS IN MAY, by Larry Dane Brimner

March 26, 2018

The story: Here’s an introduction to the Freedom Rides of 1961, including background on the Civil Rights movement and biographical information about the key participants. Winner of the 2018 Sibert Award for non-fiction. Mrs. Friend’s opinion:¬† Everyone should read this one. Advertisements

1968, by Michael Kaufman

March 9, 2018

The story: 1968 was a year that changed the United States forever–and the world, too. Michael Kaufman, a reporter for the New York Times, watched it all come down. Here, he offers a short but thorough report about the killing of both Martin Luther King, Jr and Bobby Kennedy, campus riots, the Vietnam war, and […]

THE RED BANDANNA (Young Readers’ Edition) by Tom Rinaldi

December 7, 2017

The story: Here’s the true story of Welles Crowther, who grew up wanting to become a firefighter, but instead ended up as a trader working in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. When the planes hit, Welles tied his signature red bandanna around his face and began leading others toward the stairwells so […]


September 28, 2017

The story: Here’s the scoop on “the meanest, deadliest, grossest bugs on earth”–from the fleas that caused an outbreak of the Black Plague in the US in the 1900s (the Oriental Rat Flea!) to tapeworms, deathwatch beetles and bed bugs, here’s more than you ever wanted to know about bugs that really define the word […]

THE PLAYBOOK, by Kwame Alexander

April 7, 2017

The story: Here are 52 rules for how to get ahead in life, featuring quotes by famous athletes, poems by Newbery-winner Kwame Alexander, and other inspirational material.   Mrs. Friend’s opinion: Get advice from the best on how to win at the game of life.

THE WHYDAH–A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler

April 7, 2017

The story: In 1984, marine archaeologists (okay, treasure hunters) located the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah, finding millions of dollars’ worth of pirate loot and solving one of New England’s biggest historical mysteries. Find out about pirates and treasure in this fact-filled story of adventure!   Mrs. Friend’s opinion: Great for anyone interested in […]

BALCONY ON THE MOON, by Ibtisam Barakat

February 17, 2017

The story: Ibtisam shares her story of growing up in Palestine in the 1970s-80s, when dreams were real but just about everything else was in short supply. Her life is proof that with hard work (okay, and some luck) you really can make a better life for yourself.   Mrs. Friend’s opinion: Great for readers¬†looking […]

TEN DAYS A MADWOMAN, by Deborah Noyes

November 28, 2016

The story: Nellie Bly took on the newspaper establishment in a time when reporting was not seen as a fit occupation for women, and turned the world on its ear by spending ten days in a madhouse to do a report on the terrible conditions there. She followed it up by traveling around the world […]


March 30, 2016

The story: Here’s the true story of the most famous murders of the 19th century. You know the rhyme: “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks…” Now you can learn the facts about the crime, the investigation, and the reasons why this remains among the great unsolved crimes of all time. […]

THIS SIDE OF WILD, by Gary Paulsen

October 12, 2015

The story: Gary Paulsen shares a whole slew of stories about his life-long love of animals. If you’re someone who feels that animals are people too, this one’s for you. Mrs. Friend’s opinion: Reading this book is kind of like listening to your grandpa telling stories about all the animals he’s ever known (and Gary […]