Middle School

Evergreen Book Award Middle School List 2019-20

  • Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wold
  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
  • Exo by Fonda Lee
  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick
  • Slider by Pete Hautman
  • Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein
  • Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen

2020 EVERGREEN – MS Book Talks


Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan

Between Two SkiesEvangeline loves living in Bayou Perdu. She feels most at home while out in her skiff on the bayou, fishing and watching the pelicans fly overhead. When the initial warnings of Hurricane Katrina come, at first folks in the Bayou just ignore them. After all, hurricanes are nothing new to the people of New Orleans. When it becomes clear that the storm is truly powerful, Evangeline and her family grab what they can and head to Georgia. While trying to start over in Georgia, she can’t stop thinking of the best friends she left behind, or of Tru, the boy she met just before they left.

A beautifully wrought story of someone who needs to put her life back together when everything she knew was lost. It is about the power of family and the joy and tenderness of new love.

Mary Beth Kurspahić, Risdon Middle School


Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Beyond the Bright SeaThis powerful historical fiction story is about Crow, a 12-year-old girl, who tries to find information about her past. All Crow knows is that she washed ashore on this isolated rural island in 1925–just hours after she was born. Crow braves the hostility and fear from the local islanders as they’re afraid she is from a nearby island that housed a leper colony. (Lepers are people with leprosy, an infectious disease that causes severe scarring skin sores and nerve damage.)

Luckily, Crow was found by a reclusive man named Osh who has raised her with the help of the stubborn, but loving, Miss Maggie. Crow’s quest into her past takes her on a dangerous journey that threatens all she holds dear and sends ripples across her island home and changes her life forever.

Sherri Ashlock, Nelsen Middle School


Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter Pirate King

Alosa is more than ready to follow her father’s footsteps as an infamous pirate.  At age 17, she lets herself be kidnapped on to a rival’s ship, planning to search it for a treasure map her father wants. Making things tricky for her is Riden, a smart first mate, dedicated to his brother the captain; Riden should be Alosa’s enemy, not her romantic interest.  She is smart, well trained, and cunning, a younger version of Jack Sparrow. Alosa has several secrets she’s hiding, and her confidence and style make her fantastical adventures great reading.

Jodie Purcell, Bishop Blanchet High School


Exo by Fonda Lee

ExoDonovan is accidentally captured in a what might become a war with an alien race. As  a child, he went through a process that gave his skin a hardened flexible armor, and he’s always wanted to be a soldier. He gets along with the aliens who have colonized Earth, and lived a life of privilege since his father is the planetary political leader. But at age 17, he’s captured by rebels, and starts to see the world in a new way.  His change is helped by his attraction to a pretty (and fierce) rebel and leads him to question what he’s been taught and then to disobey orders.

Jodie Purcell, Bishop Blanchet High School


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Insignificant Events CactusAven considers herself a “problem solving ninja” because her adoptive parents have never allowed the fact that she was born without arms get in the way of her figuring out how to do things. When Aven’s family moves to Arizona to manage a run-down Western theme park, she starts 8th grade with the stares and curious questions of her new classmates. In trying to avoid that, she meets up with Connor and Zion, who have their own reasons to avoid their classmates’ stares and comments. Together, the three follow Aven’s confident lead to discover the secrets of the park’s mysterious owner, disappearing tarantulas, a photograph, and a necklace. Aven shows us that a sense of humor, a positive spirit, and a couple of friends can take us a long way!

Elizabeth Metcalf, Redmond Middle School


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

long Way DownShawn taught his younger brother Will to follow the Code: no crying, no snitching, and always get revenge.  When 15-year-old Will knows who shot his older brother, he decides to get revenge and gets Shawn’s gun out of the dresser drawer.  On the escalator ride down from his 7th floor apartment,a ghost from his past joins him on each floor. When Will reaches the ground floor, it is not clear if he still plans to use his brother’s gun.  This novel in verse develops Will’s grief and desperation into a thought-provoking tragedy.

Jodie Purcell, Bishop Blanchet High School


The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick

Secret Sheriff Sixth GradeAs Maverick enters 6th grade, he undertakes a secret mission to to do nice things for people and make his life a better place. He wants to honor his father who had given him a plastic sheriff’s badge when he was little.  The decision is a hero’s rally. Maverick is short and constantly picked on himself; he’s living with an alcoholic mother and her abusive boyfriend because his soldier father died in Afghanistan. The odds are stacked even more against him when he injures the victim he was trying to help and lands in the Vice Principal’s office. Maverick’s self-deprecating humor and upbeat attitude lift this book into a fun feel good journey of standing up for yourself.    

Nancy Federiuk, Pacific Middle School


Slider by Pete Hautman

SliderSteam wafts towards David’s nose as he steadies his breathing to engulf the sliders with his mouth, and bam, they’re gone! Eating sliders used to be his signature move but now he’s moving on to pizza. Why? He accidentally spent $2,000 on his mom’s credit card and winning the Pigorino Bowl pizza eating contest is the only way he can see to repay it. But he’s got other problems too; his two best friends might be dating each other secretly and his autistic brother, Mal, requires more patience than he thinks he can spare. He needs a recipe for success and he needs it yesterday, because the timer on his race to stay sane is about to go off!

Kathleen Dunbar, Eastlake High School


Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein

Survivors ClubWhen the now famous picture that graces the cover of the book was taken, all Michael Bornstein had ever known was war. Born shortly after Hitler invaded Poland, Michael and his family were forced to eventually leave their home in Zarki, Poland, as Jews all over Poland were being sent to concentration camps. Through courage, sheer will and a little luck, Michael emerged alive as the youngest survivor of Auschwitz. Collaborating with his daughter, he shares his story, and that of his family in this extraordinary memoir.

This story is about more than just Michael, however. It is also the story of a family and a town that was forever changed. Almost fifty percent of Zarki, Poland was Jewish. During the course of the war, all of the Jewish families were eventually forced to leave Zarki, and many didn’t return. After being liberated from Auschwitz, Michael goes back to Zarki, and is faced with the aftermath of war. A highly moving, ultimately uplifting memoir.

Mary Beth Kurspahić, Risdon Middle School


Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen

Wild BirdTough love.  That’s what 14-year-old Wren Clemens wakes up to in the middle of the night.  Wren’s drinking, drug use, risk-taking and completely out of control behavior have wreaked havoc on her family and forced her parents to do something drastic: send her to an 8-week wilderness rehabilitation camp in the middle of the Utah desert!  Wren is angry and uncooperative – no one, not her parents, not the camp counselors and not her fellow campers are going to tell her what to do. She doesn’t have a problem. Wren quickly learns that, like most things, you can’t do the Utah wilderness alone. In order to survive, Wren will have to set her ego aside and accept help.   If she can do that, she’ll learn more than just how to put up a tent and start a fire; she’ll learn how she got here, who she is and most importantly, who she can choose to be. Wendelin Van Draanen, author of Flipped and The Running Dream, give us Wild Bird, an uplifting story of redemption, forgiveness and second chances. Readers who enjoy stories of survival and overcoming obstacles will love Wild Bird!

Heather Nelson, McKnight Middle School