May 25, 2017 | rasberrye
Finding the best books for middle school ESL students can be especially tough. You want to empower your students/children as English readers and not scare them away with difficult texts. But you also want books to be meaningful and enjoyable to read.
Below you will find a list of novels that should connect with intermediate readers. A number of them will be culturally relevant books that should also appeal to ESL middle school students. If you've had success with any of these books, please let us know down below in the comments.
When twelve-year-old Seema moves to Iowa City with her parents and younger sister, she leaves friends and family behind in her native India but gradually begins to feel at home in her new country.
When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toy seller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized.
Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous journey from his home in Guatemala to his older brother in New Mexico after his cousin is murdered by a drug cartel.
Set adrift on the ocean in a small skiff as a newborn, twelve-year-old Crow embarks on a quest to find the missing pieces of her history.
A young Korean girl and her family find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America.
At the beginning of eighth grade, learning disabled Max and his new friend Freak, whose birth defect has affected his body but not his brilliant mind, find that when they combine forces they make a powerful team.
As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.
When her parents divorce, a sixth grader struggles to understand that sometimes people are unable to live together.
While waiting to leave Mars before it burns up just like the Earth before it, Liam and his friend Phoebe discover some facts about time and space and realize that the human race is just one of the races trying to survive in space.
Behind the privileged walls of her new boarding school, Mary struggles to fit in, trying not to reveal the identity of her father, who has been in hiding since leading a mutiny. Rollicking adventures await Mary as she ventures out into London's crowded streets, desperately searching to see her father's loving face one more time.
Twelve-year-olds Anikwa, of the Miami village of Kekionga, and James, of the trading post outside Fort Wayne, find their friendship threatened by the rising fear and tension brought by the War of 1812.
After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp. There she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.
Aspiring to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school's track team, gifted runner Ghost finds his goal challenged by a tragic past with a violent father.
In 1870, Reconstruction brings big changes to the Louisiana sugar plantation where spunky ten-year-old Sugar has always lived, including her friendship with Billy, the son of her former master, and the arrival of workmen from China.
A group of children, entranced with the study of Egypt, play their own Egypt game, are visited by a secret oracle, become involved in a murder, and befriend the Professor of the local junk shop.
Malik and his grandfather are trying to flee a war-torn country on the last ship waiting at the port for those who can escape - but when the ship leaves only Malik is aboard, and he will need all his courage to survive in a new country.
When sudden political violence gets their father killed and destroys their home in Kenya, siblings Muchoki and Jata travel hundreds of kilometers in a desperate search for their last remaining family.
Twelve-year-old Ben Uchida keeps a journal of his experiences as a prisoner in a Japanese internment camp in Mirror Lake, California, during World War II.
Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.
Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. When Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister.
Deza Malone, the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, accompanies her mother and older brother on a trip to find her father, an African American man who left to find work after the Great Depression hit. They end up in a Hooverville outside of Flint, Michigan, and her brother attempts to be a performer while Deza and her mother search for a home.