Like many other American students, read aloud is a fundamental part of my middle school memories. Listed below are a few of the heart wrenching, emotional books we read which made both the teacher and the students sob between pages.
- Love That Dog, Sharon Creech
“I think Mr. Robert Frost has a little too much time on his hands.”
Written from the perspective of a boy named Jack who hates poetry, Love That Dog is a novel structured as a selection of Jack’s own poems which describe his thoughts and his life. I remember being read this book in 6th grade, and around the end the teacher started crying which prompted the rest of us to start crying too. It was a teary mess in the classroom for the next few minutes, but I’ll always remember this book as one of my favourite middle school memories.
- Wonder, R. J. Palacio
“Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams”
The classic book recommended to all pre-teens, Wonder is an emotional journey of a young boy with a permanently, hideously disfigured boy attending school for the first time and trying to convince everyone that despite his outward appearance, he’s an ordinary child just like them. Reading this was a very empathy-inducing experience, especially as I’d just moved to a new country and a new school, therefore finding August’s experiences really relatable, which would explain why I teared up multiple times throughout the book.
- Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech
“Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.”
Another famous children’s book by Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons tells the story of a girl named Phoebe Winterbottom through her friend Sal’s perspective. Written with the childhood fascination and innocence of a young girl, the book took me through an emotional rollercoaster, the result of which was that I still reminisce about the story and the characters today, several years later.
- Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
“You have to believe it and you hate it. I don’t have to and I think it’s beautiful.”
Most people have heard about this book, either through reading it or watching the movie. As two children create a dazzling imaginary world in the middle of the forest, the strengthening bond of their friendship will trap you within the pages with the complex human emotion behind friendship. While watching it during middle school, the teacher had to kept pausing the movie because we’d all burst into tears, which goes to show how powerful a book it is despite the simplicity of the language and the plot.
- Maniac Magee, Jerry Spinelli
“Nobody knows who said it first, but somebody must have: ‘Kid’s gotta be a maniac.”
An orphan in a racially divided city, Jeffrey Lionel Magee runs away from his strict uncle and aunt simply to run. As he struggles to figure out where he belongs in a place where the colour of people’s skin matters more than their achievements and talents, “Maniac” Magee attempts to consolidate his own identity with the new facts he learns about the world in his reformed life.