Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: Europe

Bloomability - (ISBN: 978-0330397841)

by Sharon Creech

When there seems to be no place for her in her U.S.A. family, a 13-year-old American girl goes to Switzerland with an aunt and uncle to study at the American school. Although her adjustment among “foreigners” is slow, she gradually takes advantage of her time among people from around the world, makes friends, and learns how to deal with the fact that her family seems not to be part of her life. After reading this book, try to decide what the title means.

Framed! - (ISBN: 0-7534-5829-2)

by Malcolm Rose

Sixteen-year-old detective Luke pairs up with a robot when his friend is murdered. With a touch of science fiction and lots of humor, this forensic mystery for teens guarantees non-stop intrigue when accusers point to Luke as the murderer. How can Luke, a qualified investigator, save himself?

I am Rembrandt’s Daughter - (ISBN: 978-1599900469)

by Lynn Cullen

Left alone with her famous father deteriorating into madness, Cornelia copes with caring for him by developing friendships with an aspiring painter and a wealthy businessman’s son. Think of other famous artists whose families have suffered because of their one-sided devotion to their art.

Number the Stars - (ISBN: 978-0440227533)

by Lois Lowry

Try this fictionalized account of the true story of Nazi occupation during WWII from a different twist. Learn how the country of Denmark helped 7,000 Jews escape to Sweden within 24 hours. A young Danish girl is part of the effort as she and her family help her best friend to escape. Talk about the limits of what you would do for a good friend who might be in danger.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - (ISBN: 978-1400032716)

by Mark Haddon

This interesting book accurately creates the world of the functioning autistic; British Christopher Boone narrates his attempt to find the killer of a neighbor’s dog by following Sherlock Holmes’ methods. His attempts to track a murderer while battling his own disability allow the reader to see inside an autistic mind in its attempts not to become over-stimulated or to lose control. His creativity in solving the mystery and in maintaining himself generate a fascinating tale of innovative observation and humor. Since Christopher is a math genius, many of his decisions come from solving math problems; he has included some in the back of the book. How many can you solve?

The Dark is Rising - (ISBN: 978-1416949657)

by Susan Cooper

A young man must find six signs to help him, the last remaining Old One, face the evil dark. For readers who loved Tolkien and Harry Potter, this is another fantasy series that explores morality in the face of evil. After you read this, compare its struggle of good and evil with the Harry Potter series.

The Island of Horses - (ISBN: 978-1590171028)

by Eilis Dillon

When two Irish boys venture to the forbidden Island of Horses and return home with beautiful colts, disaster awaits them for disobeying their parents. What other mysteries do they discover on the island, and whose advice ultimately turns out to be the best when the boys are trying to save themselves? Think of a time when you’ve disobeyed your parents. What were the positive AND the negative consequences?

Under the Sun - (ISBN: 0810949334)

by Arthur Dorros

While attempting to escape war-torn Sarajevo, Ehmet and his mother travel through Bosnia and Croatia. They come upon a special “Children’s Village,” a haven for war orphans. Their travels through the countryside give them a realistic picture of the effects of war on all of the country, not just the cities. What ways can you think of to help the children of areas like Iraq and Afghanistan where there is war today?

Wilderness - (ISBN: 978-0439023566)

by Roddy Doyle

Two transplanted American boys, seeking to escape a family reunion, set out to explore the north of Finland, the country their family came from. They end up in a dangerous, snowy place, relying on their wits to save their mother’s life in the wilderness. Recount a time when your decisions made a difference between life and death.

A Stranger Came Ashore - (ISBN: 978-0064400824)

by Mollie Hunter

Artemis Fowl - (ISBN: 0786817070)

by Eoin Colfer

Girl with a Pearl Earring - (ISBN: 978-0452282155)

by Tracy Chevalier

Man from the Other Side - (ISBN: 978-0140370881)

by Uri Orlev

Milkweed - (ISBN: 978-0440420057)

by Jerry Spinelli

The Midwife’s Apprentice - (ISBN: 978-0064406307)

by Karen Cushman

Tunes for Bears to Dance To - (ISBN: 978-0440219033)

by Robert Cormier

Zlata’s Diary - (ISBN: 978-0143036876)

by Zlata Filipovic

Activities for this Theme

Can you identify European capitals? Play a game to learn them.


Cut out an intricate Scherenschnitte (paper cutting) heart. This craft originated in Germany and Austria.


Try your hand at a quiz about countries in Europe.


See the movie Girl with a Pearl Earring and compare it to the book. Which is better, in your opinion? Should the movie producers have left out some scenes and put in other things that you found in the book?


Create a travel brochure for a country you’ve enjoyed reading about. Highlight some of the things you learned in the book.


Keep your own daily diary, and include personal reflections on political events as well as personal triumphs and crises.