Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: Things That Float in the Air

A Wind in the Door - (ISBN: 978-0312368548)

by Madeleine L’Engle

Part of the Time Quintet, this book documents the difficulties Charles Wallace is having with his farandolae, his mitochondria. Their kingdom is threatened by Echthroi, and Charles and Meg try to save their friends by “naming” them. This contrasts with the Echthroi’s destructive unnaming. Cunningly though, the two children travel via mitochondria to fix the problems, along the way sacrificing Mr. Jenkins whose double “unnamed” self fools the children temporarily. Try to imagine how flying on mitochondria would be; would it resemble a flight on a rocket or a float on a tamer hot air balloon?

Bandolines and Bubbles - (ISBN: 978-1426930898)

by Milly O’Neil-Andrews

Billy, a Bandoline creature, and Timmy, a Tumble, become friends even though their families do not usually mix. In their explorations along a creek, they discover a mysterious cave. When Billy hears the mystifying mewing of a Bombalew, a cat-like creature, they are further drawn into the underground cavern. Read this book to find out what “Bubbles” means in this peculiar universe!

Bird - (ISBN: 0385730187)

by Rita Murphy

In this unusual book, a very tiny girl herself unwittingly rides the winds to a new home on the shores of a huge lake. She finds a new home and guardian there at Bourne Manor, but suspects that the manor has a curse on it. When she makes a new friend, they try to escape in the wind again, this time aided by kites.

Lord of the Flies - (ISBN: 978-0399537424)

by William Golding

After being stranded on an island after a plane crash, a group of boys organizes for survival. Soon thereafter, however, warring forces in the group that have different goals for their continued existence cause a leadership battle. One night when a dead parachutist floats down onto the island, the boys mistake his parachute for a beast, and chaos ensues. When seamen finally come to rescue the stranded boys, the officers are amazed at their murdering, bloodthirsty behaviors. Enjoy this classic tale.

The Kite Rider - (ISBN: 978-0064410915)

by Geraldine McCaughrean

Haoyou’s father loses his life after being forced to fly on a huge kite from a sea vessel in 13th century China in order to test the angle and ferocity of the wind that day. Haoyou constantly reenacts his father’s death as a “kite rider” when he joins a circus as a pre-teen in an attempt to save his mother from a loveless marriage. Haoyou’s adventurous life includes riding a “kamikaze” wind and meeting the terrifying Kublai Khan.

A Cage of Butterflies - (ISBN: 978-0702224164)

by Brian Caswell

Making Laws for Clouds - (ISBN: 978-0143000259)

by Nick Earls

The Floating World - (ISBN: 978-0345381620)

by Cynthia Kadohata

The Maze - (ISBN: 9780688150921)

by Will Hobbs

Wolf Star - (ISBN: 978-0142301524)

by Tanith Lee

Activities for this Theme

Make a paper wind-driven helicopter.


Read an essay on a teen’s parasailing experience.


Check out your community’s offerings of bungee jumping and hang gliding!


Read this family’s account of their escape from East Berlin in a balloon from today’s perspective.