Margaret A. Robbins has a PhD in Language and Literacy Education from The University of Georgia. She is a Teacher-Scholar at The Mount Vernon School in Atlanta, Georgia. She has peer-reviewed journal articles published in The ALAN Review, SIGNAL Journal, Gifted Child Today, Social Studies Research and Practice, and The Qualitative Report. She recently co-edited a special issue of English Journal. Her research interests include comics, Young Adult literature, fandom, critical pedagogy, and writing instruction. She can be reached on Twitter at @writermar and on Instagram, too: @dr.margaretrobbins
A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass: Mia Winchell is a bright, creative middle school student who has a rare processing difference known as synesthesia, where she sees the world in different colors. She’s hesitant to tell her friends, even her close friends, and this causes her to feel disconnected. However, upon learning more about her condition, Mia finds a whole community of friends with similar experiences and learns to better articulate her story to others. In the meantime, she’s able to process her grief of her grandfather’s recent death through her relationship with her cat Mango and her artistic talents. Middle and high school students alike in the book club enjoyed the novel. I believe it would be a good book for students aged 10 and up to read.
As the summer season continues, I’ll keep reading more coming of age middle grade, YA, and new adult novels, both for myself and for my students. What are some of your favorites? Email me and let me know. I’d love to keep this middle and high school cross grade level book club going, so I’m open to books within those age ranges. Coming of age can happen during any phase of life, and in particular, it’s a theme that resonates with my younger adolescent students. Happy summer reading season to all!