Sonnenblick, Jordan. After Ever After. New York: Scholastic, 2010.
Jeffrey is a teen in remission. Even though the cancer should be far behind him, Jeffrey still worries that it will return. He has got normal teen stuff to deal with, too - friends, parents, girls, school. Normally, he would ask his older brother, Steven, for advice. But Steven, always the trusty, responsible one, is finally rebelling and has taken off to Africa to join a drumming circle and "find himself."
Reading Level: 5
Audience: This novel is fast paced with witty writing to keep the interest of the students, especially boys. An issue with standardized testing runs through the later part of the book. Those who loved reading The Fault in Our Stars will enjoy this novel too.
Language Arts Extension: As an exercise within the English unit, the student might identify the metaphors, hyperboles and challenging words that are in the novel. I would write these on the whiteboard for discussion. The students would also be asked to create similar types of literary exercises that are done by the character in the book. .
Science Extension: The types of cancers will be explored including what types of treatments that are used today. See examples of Middle School science projects about cancer here: http://www.juliantrubin.com/fairprojects/medicine/cancer.html or http://stemjobs.com/science-cancer-research/
Mayer, Marissa, Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles. New York: Feiwel & Friends, 2012.
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.
Reading Level: 5
Audience: A fast-action book for working with middle students as it has vibrant descriptions and character dialogue. Short book trailer: http://us.macmillan.com/cinder/MarissaMeyer#media
Science Extension: Cinder has many unique abilities—the ability to detect lies, to download information directly into her head, to overlay her eyesight with helpful diagrams, etc. What kinds of abilities might we want to develop from future technology? What cyborg skill would you like to have today? Disease & plague; Implanted chips might be a good topic too.
Language Arts Extension: As an exercise within the English unit, I would ask the students to research the cyborg features . Lesson plans can be found at the author’s website: http://www.marissameyer.com/books/discussion-questions/
1. The cover art for CINDER depicts a female leg with cyborg parts and a red shoe. Draw or paint a different portrait of Cinder with her cyborg parts, either in her mechanic’s garb, or at the ball.
2. The android Iko is important to Cinder. Draw or paint her. Or, draw/paint the android you’d like to have or be in your life.
Social Studies Extension: When is it justified for a government or institution to use propaganda? When should the people of a society question what information they’re given? Propaganda is used as a political tool both by Luna (ex., Sybil’s claim that the history of peace on Luna is a result of the totalitarian regime) and the Eastern Commonwealth (ex., being selected as a cyborg draft subject is an “honor”).
What real-world parallels can you draw between the discrimination against cyborgs and Lunars to that of race, disability, and class? What does it mean to be human? Is it primarily physiological? Cultural? Emotional? What do you think could have led to cyborgs being perceived as less than human in Cinder’s world?
Park, Linda Sue. A Long Walk to Water. New York: Clarion Books, 2010.
When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.
Reading Level: 5
Audience: Middle school students.
Language Arts Extension: The students will learn about Africa and some of its geographic, political and social upheavals. A persuasive essay project to contribute to a related area of need could be developed.
Math Extension: Students can discuss human needs & statistics in relation to bathing, drinking & other water needs.
Social Studies Extension: Geographical area & the concern of water shortage. A research project or humanities service project could be developed. The last page of the book contains information to be referenced.
Sheinkin. Steve. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2014.
Presents an account of the 1944 civil rights protest involving hundreds of African-American Navy servicemen who were unjustly charged with mutiny for refusing to work in unsafe conditions after the deadly Port Chicago explosion.
Reading Level: 6
Before or after reading the book, watch the 10 minute video available on the Park site: http://portchicagomemorial.org/2009/06/01/into-forgetfulness/
Audience: Middle School - “Written in riveting short chapters, this exploration of the Civil Rights Movement is a window into World War II on the home front, a great launching pad for original research and a mentor text for writing engaging nonfiction, this book can serve many roles in middle school.” See the following & many more lesson ideas at: http://classroombookshelf.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-port-chicago-50.html
Language Arts Extension: Hold a Socratic seminar in which students mull over and consider these opposing perspectives. The students will write about: When is Doing Something Wrong Right?. If your students feel so moved, have them write persuasive letters to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, arguing that he ignore the 1994 review of the Port Chicago trial, and overturn their convictions posthumously.
Social Studies Extension: Before reading the book, have students read the summary of the disaster on the History Channel. Use this short article to have students anticipate what details and perspectives might be in the book. Compare the United Naval Corps article & use critical literacy skills to compare & contrast both perspectives.
A good tie in could be: http://classroombookshelf.blogspot.com/2013/04/courage-has-no-color.html
Hunt, Lynda Mullaly. One for the Murphys. New York, NY : Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012.
"After heartbreaking betrayal, Carley is sent to live with a foster family and struggles with opening herself up to their love"—to be someone’s hero
Reading Level: 3
Audience: Middle School ~ Theme: Be Someone’s Hero; Vulnerability/Showing your True Self
Lesson Plans: The Hero’s Journey sheet, vocabulary, worksheets, Predictions, Diagrams, Culminating activities (letter to the author’s address) & more at: http://www.penguin.com/static/images/yr/pdf/Murphys_Teachers_Guide.pdf