Monday, January 21, 2013

Sob Stories

image adapted from You Cry Alone by gwenboul via Flickr
What is it about a heart rending story that draws middle school girls? For some of my students, handing them that first Lurlene McDaniel book leads to a three-year trawl through the abyss of anguish, the depths of despair, the mire of melancholy, the….you get the idea.  This is a challenge for me because this genre is one that I avoid reading whenever possible. Tell me that a book made you cry and it immediately drops to the bottom of my “must read” list.  It’s not that I am not an empathetic person,  I just prefer to read about action and adventures, especially fantasy.  This is probably why I have a lot of success with boys who are reluctant readers, and not as much with the girls who are. On the other hand, I have enjoyed and recommended new titles such as Wonder, Out of My Mind, See You at Harry’s and One for the Murphys.  Maybe I’m getting more sentimental as I get older.  

I am creating a list of “sob stories” for my girls who are addicted to this emotionally manipulative genre.  Below are titles that I have in my library that are suitable for middle grade (6th - 8th) students. Some have been around a very long time, but are still popular.

Any title by Lurlene McDaniel
Defiance, Valerie Hobbs
Each Little Bird that Sings, Deborah Wiles
Edward’s Eyes, Patricia MacLachlan
Everything is Fine, Ann Dee Ellis
Hard Hit, Ann Turner
I Heart You, You Haunt Me, Lisa Schroeder
In a Heartbeat, Loretta Ellsworth
Jumping the Scratch, by Sarah Weeks
Life on the Refrigerator Door, Alice Kuipers
Mockingbird (mok’ing-bûrd)
Olive’s Ocean, Kevin Henkes
One for the Murphys, Lynda Mullay Hunt
Out of My Mind, Sharon Draper
Phoenix Rising, Karen Hesse
Pieces of Georgia, Jennifer Bryant
See You at Harry’s,  Johanna Knowles
Silhouetted by the Blue, Traci L. Jones
So B It, by Sarah Weeks
Swear to Howdy, Wendelin Van Draanen
Tears of a Tiger, Sharon Draper
Tending to Grace, Kimberly Newton Fusco
The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen
Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
Wenny Has Wings, Janet Lee Carey
Wonder, R. J. Palacio

I’m sure I am missing some. What would you add to the list?

Addition to this post:  I set up the above display with tissue boxes.  The books flew off the shelf!  Kristen says add Ways to Live Forever to the list!