Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: Family History, Family Legacies

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters - (ISBN: 0545107105)

by Natalie Standiford

Norrie, Jane, and Sassy Sullivan cannot receive their rightful inheritance from their grandmother until each writes a confession for a real or imagined wrong done to the grandmother. Even the sisters’ family members risk losing their lavish life style unless one of the sisters confesses to the lapse of judgment that offended the grandmother. The letters written by the sisters form the core of this enticing novel, with the “confessions” depicting the excesses of privileged wealth.

In Spite of Killer Bees - (ISBN: 978-0887766015)

by Julie Johnston

Three orphaned girls have a difficult time meeting the requirements to receive their grandfather’s inheritance. They learn they must move to the “haunted” house where he lived, and bring along their eccentric Aunt Lily. Their problems compound since Lily believes they are not the genuine heirs to the fortune. Family ties eventually pull the three very different sisters together to confront the horrors of the house and their inherited pasts. Why did the author choose this particular title?

Lucky Girl - (ISBN: 978-1565129825)

by Mei-Ling Hopgood

Despite being happily adopted into an American family as a baby, Mei-ling must eventually come to terms with her Chinese birth family when they contact her via email and fax. They demands that she come home, resulting in a trip fraught with many surprises and countless frustrations. Her trip results in a deeper understanding of the nature of biological bonds.

Persepolis - (ISBN: 978-0375714573)

by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi’s political and personal inheritance lie in Islamic fundamentalist Iran. Her heritage as a descendant of a former Iranian emperor and intellectual upbringing layer further dimensions to her legacy. Enjoy this graphic novel, illustrated by the author herself, as she describes the changes brought to Iran by Khomeini in the late 1970’s, seen through the eyes of a true insider. Her parents decide to stay on in Iran despite the difficulties and lack of freedom. What factors led the author to leave the country?

Zane’s Trace - (ISBN: 0763628581)

by Allan Wolf

Zane tries to calm the demons of a violent past by writing anywhere he can with bold markers. When he believes he has killed his own father, he decides to take his own life as his mother did. In the car on his way to doom, he encounters several characters that show him elements of his past. He comes to understand aspects of his familial inheritance he cannot change; he also starts to make better decisions. Try writing things down that are bothering you, as Zane does. What else helps you cope with very frightening or disturbing times? (This book is more appropriate for young adult, high school readers than middle school.)

Blood Secret - (ISBN: 006000066X)

by Kathryn Lasky

Kidnapped - (ISBN: 978-1416534747)

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return - (ISBN: 978-0375714665)

by Marjane Satrapi

Possession - (ISBN: 9780375932946)

by Chris Humphreys

The Red Judge - (ISBN: 978-1582349428)

by Pauline Fisk

The Vast Spread of the Seas - (ISBN: 9781598169485)

by Fuyumi Ono

Activities for this Theme

6 Genealogy Projects for Kids and Teens


Use an interactive map to find what foods most popular in the country of your ancestors’ origins.