Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Theme: Personal Makeovers

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - (ISBN: 978-0810993136)

by Jeff Kinney

Take a peek into Greg’s diary to see his take on being one of the “runtier” kids in the school. See how he handles it with a sense of humor and a certain amount of obliviousness. Although his mother forces him to start the diary, he approaches it with a great deal of creativity, including caricatures of himself and drawings of the scrapes he gets himself into in his constant quest for a girlfriend. Have you ever drawn a picture of yourself?

Remarkable - (ISBN: 978-0-8037-3706-8)

by Lizzie K. Foley

Although Jane Doe appears to be the only non-remarkable person in her town, her determination to save the town from newly appeared schemers and a pirate fill the pages of the book with the adventures of an ordinary person who prevails. Her parents are outstanding, but she is the only plain citizen in the normal school. Her impact on the town happenings prove that being run of the mill can be remarkable too! What characteristics do you think makes someone truly remarkable?

The Boy Who Ran to the Woods - (ISBN: 978-0871138224)

by Jim Harrison

Jimmy’s anger results in a fight with a girl who throws a bottle at him and blinds him in one eye. His unhappiness continues and affects his school life. One summer, however, when spending time at a cabin in the woods, he discovers nature. He loses himself in the face of his new interests and resolves to learn more about the things he has observed after he returns home. When you get upset, take a walk and try to breathe in the calmness of the nature around you.

The Diary of A Young Girl - (ISBN: 978-0307594006)

by Anne Frank

Anne Frank’s actual diary keeps a record of the time her family went into hiding in a Dutch attic in order to try and survive the Nazi persecution of Jewish people during WWII. Although Anne did not survive her later imprisonment in a concentration camp after the hiding place was discovered, her diary has brought her family’s life with the other residents into public awareness. Anne’s youthful but delightful take on the crabby dentist and her first puppy love preserve her spirit despite her sad ending. Anne overcame her death through her own writings! If Anne had lived, what kind of person would she have become?

The Skin I’m In - (ISBN: 978-0756984687)

by Sharon Flake

Maleeka’s depression about the limitations of her inner city school and the fact that her skin is very dark begins to lift when she meets a teacher with a disfiguring birthmark on her face. Maleeka responds to her teacher’s encouragement to begin writing, but at the same time, she seeks approval from a rough group of girls. Although she comes to gain confidence in a circuitous route, the ultimate outcome is positive. Do you sometimes feel different from other children your age? What helps you to feel confident and proud of the person you are?

Amos Fortune, Free Man - (ISBN: 978-0140341584)

by Elizabeth Yates

Brady - (ISBN: 978-0698119376)

by Jean Fritz

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch - (ISBN: 978-0395137130)

by Jean Lee Latham

The Book Thief - (ISBN: 978-0375842207)

by Markus Zusak

Activities for this Theme

Start a diary of your own and try to use humor, drawing, and satire to view your frustrations in a different light.


What are some characteristics most of the people featured in the books share? Use this storyboard creator to tell the story of a composite character who would emerge stronger after encountering life’s obstacles.