Stead, R. (2009). When you reach me. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.
Young Adult Fiction
Lexile Level: 750L
Interest Level: 6-8th
A missing house key, some cryptic hand written notes, the possibility of time travel and the $20, 000 Pyramid with Dick Clark occupy twelve-year-old Miranda thoughts during her 6th grade year. Newberry winner, Rebecca Stead takes the reader through an excursion in New York City in 1979 with Miranda trying to solve a mystery of the notes that keep popping up while navigating friendships. This novel takes a true look at growing up and handling friendships at the cusp of adolescents, along with realizations that kindness always has a place in the world. Students who have read A Wrinkle in Time, will appreciate references throughout.
Johnson, V. (2016). To catch a cheat. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books.
Middle Grade Book
Reading Level: 5th
Lexile Level: 650L
Interest Level: 4th grade- 7th grade
This sequel to The Great Greene Heist starts with a prank that Jackson and his crew are questioned for. They all deny any part of it, however none of the members have a solid alibi during the time in which it occurred. This opens the book to the swift and speedy pace of action throughout while Jackson, Charlie, and Gaby seek to clear their names and outwit some cheaters who are trying to blackmail the crew. The “Star Trek” and “Ocean’s Eleven” references return along with the plans to outsmart the adults and peers at school. Johnson’s books are free of any heavy themes, and provide an opportunity for a highly entertaining story that does not resolve itself until the final pages for middle grade readers.
Gaiman, N., & Young, S. (2013). Fortunately, the milk. New York: Harper Collins.
Fantasy Middle Reader
Reading Level: 4.3
Lexile Level: 680L
Interest Level: 4-7th
This fantasy turns an ordinary errand into an outrageous story. A father returns home after going to the store to buy more milk he explains his delay by telling his son and daughter a long tale of what he encountered on the way home. In an absurd and silly story of bad luck, combined with dinosaurs, vampires, and a hot air balloon. Neil Gaiman’s story is amusing, and the illustrations by Skottie Young are whimsical and comical. This text provides enjoyment reading, and can accompany a creative writing unit by being a mentor text for descriptions and continuity. Younger readers will think it is humorous, and older readers can try to find the holes in the father’s story as his son attempts.