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Character Chat: Middle Schooler Book Recommendations About Respect

Reading books together is a great way to instill lessons on developing good character traits such as RESPECT. But how to get your middle schooler to read these recommended books? One way might be forming a "book club" with your children. Give them a list of books to choose from and together you read the same book. Plan a date for your book club to meet (sets a deadline for finishing the book) and plan a place (could be at home or even in your favorite coffee shop/restaurant!) and serve refreshments or be served refreshments. (Substitute hot chocolate for non-coffee drinkers!) Include others such as their friends and parents. Make it so fun that they'll never suspect you are having a "teaching moment".


Books for middle schoolers:

The Man Who Loved Clowns by June Rae Wood


A story about a shy teenager, Delrita and her Uncle Punky who loves clowns and has Down Syndrome. She struggles with feeling ashamed of him when her peers make fun of him for being different. This book as well as promoting empathy and inclusion, shows the need to respect those who are different from us.


Loser by Jerry Spinelli


A story about Zinkoff, a colorful character who does not "fit the mold". A story that teaches that individuality is something to be welcomed and not disrespected.




Matilda by Roald Dahl


Matilda's parents are the furthest thing from role models, on many levels, but especially when it comes to respect. They don't appreciate or love their daughter for who she is, and they don't tolerate or respect each other very well either. This is a great book to help your child learn that even when people don't give you the respect you deserve, you can still share your joy.


Have fun reading (and creating memories!).

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