Today’s recommendation is not for kids, but for their parents, teachers, and other adults who wish to recommend books, kids will love.  It is a literacy “classic,” Nancy Pearl’s Book Crush (published 2007).

In the introduction, Pearl states, “I thought it would be fun for me and useful for parents, teachers, and other adults who lived or worked with children; to write a book devoted solely to great reads for kids and teens.”  The book is divided into Part I, “Youngest Readers”; Part II, “Middle Grade Readers, ages 8-12”; and “Part III, Teen Readers, ages 13-18.”

As she ends the introduction, Pearl adds, “My hope is that you’ll find here hours and hours, days and days of wonderful reading for the child and teens in your life.”

Here is a sample from the many sections (Adventure, Goosebumps, Good Sports, Girlpower, etc.) aimed at Middle School readers, titled “Guaranteed to Grab You, Memorable First Lines”:

“I love first lines of books. I can’t imagine a better feeling than opening a book to the first page and coming across a line or two that is so compelling you just can’t stop reading. Here are a few of my favorites.

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee begins, “I have been accused of being anal retentive, an over-achiever, and a compulsive perfectionist, like those are bad things.”

Deborah Wilds starts Each Little Bird That Sings with this come-hither line,  “I come from a family with a lot of dead people.”

You get the idea, first liners that grab the middle school reader’s attention. I think this was my favorite age group and my favorite section within that group. Grab a copy of the book, be sure to have pencil and paper nearby to make lists, and soon you will be known for your “cool” recommendations. (You’ll also find some interesting books YOU will enjoy, I betcha’!


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."


  1. A great post, Rae:)). One of my favourite first lines is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I spent many hours browsing through Book Crush and her previous book, Book Lust. I sent Book Lust with an accompanying journal out as a bookring long ago. When it returned, I found many, many great book suggestions. For me, the best way to find good books is from people who enjoy the same sorts of books I do. And that was one way I did so. I think that is also true for kids. Kids need more ways of hearing about the really good reads from other kids. I wonder what those would be.

    Liked by 1 person

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