Welcome to Flashlight Chronicles!
This site is designed to help you match the right book with the right middle schooler (grades 6-8).
Middle school is awkward. Kids are developing–physically, intellectually, and emotionally–at radically different rates and at different times from one another. They are changing, experimenting, testing their limits, and starting to think hard about who they are, who others think they are, and who they want to be. Pre-teens and young teens seem to be stuck with one foot in childhood and one in young adulthood, drawn to the future but still holding on to the past.
This awkward in-between phase is reflected in the publishing industry. Middle grade books are often too easy or too juvenile for the average reader in grades 6-8, while many young adult books are too intense, too mature, or too distant from the middle school experience. Synopses, reviews, and publisher age recommendations are some help, but often don’t provide enough information, especially if the book is not targeted squarely at middle school readers (and few of them are).
Life gets busier in middle school, and it will only increase in high school. Middle school is when kids begin to form their own opinions about things, and these opinions can last a lifetime. If we lose readers now, it’ll be tough to get them back later in life. It’s crucial that we give middle schoolers books that appeal to their individual tastes, abilities, and developmental levels, so they learn that reading fits into the new identities they are forging for themselves. Flashlight Chronicles aims to give you the details you need to find just-right books for each individual reader.
About the Creator
My name is Kylie Peters. I have a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, with a certificate in services to youth ages birth to 18. Currently, I’m the Middle School Librarian at a public library (not a school library–don’t let the title fool you!) in the suburbs of Chicago. I have also worked as a teen librarian, a programming/community engagement associate, and a storytime intern.
When I started as a middle school specialist, I was surprised at how little middle school-specific information I could find on the subjects of literature and library services.There seem to be more and more tween and middle school specialists in public libraries lately, in addition to the many school librarians. I hope this site is useful to my colleagues at other libraries. Even more than that, I hope it guides middle schoolers to the books that will thrill them, inspire them, and carry them through those exciting, awful, goofy, self-conscious, angst-filled years of infamy.