Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: Listen!

House of Dance - (ISBN: 978-0061429309)

by Beth Kephart

Rosie listens hard to her dying grandfather’s story of his passions and concerns during his life. His oral stories about his love of music lead her to visit the House of Dance and get involved in preparing a gift for her beloved relative. What is the secret presentation she plans for him which meets his need for more movement and sound?

Ivy in the Shadows - (ISBN: 9780374335663 )

by Chris Woodworth

Ivy’s new responsibilities at home after her mother is forced to take a job include watching over her younger brother and protecting him from their questionable boarder. She gets most of her ammunition for these tasks from stepping off to the side and listening. She uses what she hears when she decides to take action when things at home get out of hand. What is one situation where you have found listening first is a good rule?

The Night My Sister Went Missing - (ISBN: 978-0152061913)

by Carol Plum-Ucci

Kurt’s confusion after he hears a shot fired and the police cannot find his missing younger sister results in his carefully listening to all the witnesses testifying at the police station in town. What he hears shocks him and changes his assessment of his small town from a comfortable home to a world roiling with intrigue and less than savory characters. As he talks to himself to try and solve the mysterious disappearance, his psychic growth comes with pain. Have you ever heard something that totally changed your view of a person or situation?

The Talking Earth - (ISBN: 978-0064402125)

by Jean Craighead George

Billy feels conflicted about following her tribe’s traditional ways and listening to their legends. She is concerned about today’s problems with the environment and war. When she goes into the woods to think about her confusion, she realizes she must listen carefully to the advice of the animals there, which are her companions and mentors.

To Kill a Mockingbird - (ISBN: 978-0446310789)

by Harper Lee

After Scout overhears her father Atticus saying that Tom Robinson’s innocence will not save him, she realizes she has to gather more information about her father’s work and the situation in her small town. She wants to save Tom, of course, and protect her father. What is one action she undertakes at her very young age that results from her eavesdropping and actually does keep her father from experiencing mortal danger?

Candor - (ISBN: 978-1606841358)

by Pam Bachorz

Seek - (ISBN: 978-0689854026)

by Paul Fleischman

The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies - (ISBN: 0670062170)

by Lizabeth Zindel

Thirteen Reasons Why - (ISBN: 978-1595141880)

by Jay Asher

Activities for this Theme

Take a walk in the woods and listen quietly to the sounds you hear. Then compare these to the sounds you hear on a city street.


Enjoy the oral renditions of a wide variety of people’s stories across the US. The number of these stories available continues to grow as more and more people add their own short bios. Consider adding a story from your family.


Listen to one of your favorite books as a podcast or audio book instead of reading it. Compare the effects of hearing it vs. flipping through its pages. Is anything missing when you listen and don’t “see” it?