Over the last few months I’ve received a stack of advance review novels that’s now literally taller than I am. But from the pile of books, three great middle-grade novels in particular have caught my attention. Each explores themes of justice, activism, empowerment and goodness — hmmm… all issues that have been on my mind a lot this past year.
If your older tweens or teens — or you (we love YA books too!) — are looking for something inspiring to read, these are three books you should definitely take a look at.
My guess is, all of these will be in the movie theaters soon, so go ahead and read them now. Because the book is almost always better.
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Related: The 2017 National Book Award finalists that YA lovers will want to get their hands on now
There is a Dickensian-meets-steampunk vibe to to The Wonderling by Mira Bartók. The story revolves around a good 11-year-old fox with just one ear who has lived his whole life in terrible conditions under a harsh governess. Eventually he makes a friend and escapes The Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures to find his true destiny.
The manuscript of The Wonderling was optioned by a big production company before it was even published, so read this one now before the movie comes out. I predict it’s going to be a huge hit.
Reading Katherine Paterson’s The Bridge to Terabithia was a heart-breaking, coming-of-age milestone for me — it was the first time a book made me cry. So when I received her newest work, My Brigadista Year, I dove right in. (Tissues nearby.)
The story is set in Cuba, where a 13-year-old girl decides to leave her family for a year to work on a literacy project in the impoverished countryside. She promises to come home if life gets too hard, but that line in the sand isn’t as clear as she thought it would be. The fact that this story is based on true events makes it even more compelling.
Related: 11 inspiring children’s and YA books about historic women for our girls — and especially, our boys
Set in Nazi-occupied England, 2014, The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew is the next read for more advanced readers who enjoy The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner series. Jessika is a good girl, obedient to the controlling Nazi regime. Her best friend, Clementine, is..not. Jessika must make a tough choice, and what follows is intense and haunting.
I haven’t finished it yet, but I can hardly put it down.
Fair warning: there’s some strong language (the f-word is on page 1) and characters explore sexuality; but there are also powerful examples of feminism, revolution and protest that older kids can learn from. This is definitely one to read along with your kids for some important weekly discussions.
Some people even describe reading as a journey that starts as the opening of a page, and finishes as the last page is turned. The reason why reading is so important is because reading is relaxing to our mind and soul; it is a way for children to reach out to the world, and it improves our thinking process.
The first reason why reading is so beneficial in our lives is that a book furnishes relaxation to our mind and soul. There is something about stopping to focus on words during reading that is instantly relaxing. Maybe it is just staying still in a chair, something that does not seem to happen often in our lives. Stress is a major concern for a lot of people because of the day to day labor. Even if we have a stressful day, a book can easily distract us from our own problems. Reading has ability to calm us down, and dispense peace.
The second reason why reading is so beneficial in our lives is that reading is relaxing, and it is also a way for children to reach out to the world. Reading should be encouraged among children at an early age. This is significant because there are numerous benefits that children can dilate from reading. Aside from mushrooming qualities and senses, reading also reports knowledge and information to their brains. It is no secret that reading increases children’s vocabulary and spelling more than talking or direct teaching.
Reading forces us to look at words that we might not have seen or heard in our lives. In fact, languages in children’s books are likely to be more complicated than their average conversation. A large number of children who read are articulate while the others are not, “As a man thinks, so shall he become.” (The Bible)
The third reason why reading is so beneficial is that reading improves our thinking process. Reading books require readers to think and imagine about different details in the book such as characters and plot; this provides us to improve our thinking process. Repeating a habit of reading and persuading the brain to be more buoyant and absorb more information will give us a great beneficial. It also obliges readers to focus on what they are reading for long periods. Unlike magazines, internet posts or e-mails that might contain small pieces of information, books tell the whole story. Since the readers must concentrate in order to read, they will improve their concentration, thinking abilities, and plunge them into their brains.
Everyone knows that a person who reads will be successful and a person who doesn’t will either not do so well than others or eventually fail in life. If we want to be known as a profound person instead of being a delinquent one who begrudges the successful person, we must start changing our habits. “No entertainment is so cheap as reading, or any pleasures so lasting.” (Montagu), reading may look very prickly outside but if we actually remove the husk, it is our companion that assists us to go through our livings. It will not only refresh our mind and soul but it will give us a great outlook towards life.