This book round-up, compiled by San Fransisco school librarian Liz Mabey, was recently posted on Not Just a Working Mom’s blog:
“As the mom of boys ages 10 and 12, Liz has serious concerns about books that emphasize the crass and cruel side of the tween years, and don’t honor the tender hearts we’ve cultivated in our own kids. Here are some titles that introduce the middle-school years with respect, humor, and a reasonable dose of reality, best for grades 4 & up:
Origami series by Tom Angleberger – kids trying to navigate confusing friendships and crushes in age-appropriate ways. I love how these books model self-reflection and show respect for kids’ feelings without appearing to teach a lesson.
Aldo Zelnick series by Karla Oceanak—Aldo is a talented artist, but can’t decide whether he’s willing to let his non-standard talent shine. His diverse group of family and friends are featured in his journal-style books that feature text and graphic sections.
The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. Set during and just after the Vietnam wars at two different middle & high schools, this pair of titles would be appropriate for 5th grade and up readers ready for the next level of poignancy and cultural literacy in humorous episodic novels.
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass. (California Young Reader Medal, 2011). Narrated in turns by an appearance-obsessed aspiring model and an isolated, home-schooled astronomy enthusiast, this story of weathering life’s changes is thoughtful and captivating.