Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Theme: Pockets

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So Fabulous Life - (ISBN: 978-1416980063)

by Rachel Renée Russell

Nikki’s father inadvertently wins a scholarship for her to a snooty private school, but Nikki’s concerns about life could be found in any academic setting: mean girls, interesting boys, and the desire for a hot, new phone. The drawings in her diary, which her mother had given her to help her adjust to the new school, reveal more about her less-than perfect character. Think about a time when you were the new kid in the classroom; what helped you adjust? Where did you tuck away your secret feelings?

Middle School is Worse than Meat Loaf: A Year Told through Stuff - (ISBN: 978-0689852817)

by Jennifer L. Holm

Both literal and cyber contents of Ginny’s “pockets” display on the pages of this illustrated romp through a bad school year. Readers learn about Ginny by reading her sticky notes, diary entries, report cards, and even IM messages. Facing problems typical of any preteen, Ginny responds with a great to-do list and high spirits. What do the notes in your pockets and on your chats tell about you?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian - (ISBN: 978-0316013697)

by Sherman Alexie

What pocket item is the most compelling? A diary, of course. Native American Junior struggles with both physical and identity issues as he tries to fit into the complex social world of middle school. Were it not for the sense of humor and the artistic bent he displays in his gripping diary, his problems might be too much, but he handles the challenges. Junior explains that he draws in his diary because using words is too limiting. Try keeping a pocket journal of your school days and see if your drawings are more expressive than words.

The Ch'i-lin Purse: A Collection of Ancient Chinese Stories - (ISBN: 978-0374411893)

by Linda Fang

Enjoy these nine stories taken from classical Chinese opera and novels and modified for middle school readers. Readers will learn the importance of fate, surprise endings, and plot twists in Chinese culture as shown in these enjoyable tales. Try reading them aloud to the entire family. If you made a purse full of tales to show your culture, what tales would you include?

The Quest for the Tree Kangaroo - (ISBN: 978-0547248929)

by Sy Montgomery

This nonfiction book documents the expedition of two scientists to New Guinea’s cloud forest as they attempt to locate a rare kangaroo. Their climb includes details about their life in camp, the unusual species they come across, and their encounters with native conservation experts. Enjoy the vivid photographs as you make your way into this very different and exciting world. Do they find the elusive kangaroo?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book - (ISBN: 978-0810979772)

by Jeff Kinney

Koalas - (ISBN: 978-0761425267)

by Steven Otfinoski

Activities for this Theme

Make a cool purse out of an old book


Help your family members make matching pajama bags from old pillow cases.


Make an angel from a pocket for a gift or Christmas decoration.


Enjoy listening to the classic song "Catch a Falling Star" by Perry Como


Make an apron, but add a pocket to keep your best surprises.


Make a portable pocket you can wear pinned on to any clothing!