Watch the Sky, by Kirsten Hubbard, is an intimate look at a family who lives at the edge. Jory is eleven. His mom has remarried a man named Caleb who was in one of the recent wars, and who believes that the world is about to change drastically. He gets the entire family involved in a project that he insists offers salvation to all of them, but the process is exhausting and difficult for Jory.
As a precaution, the stepfather believes Jory ought to go to regular school, so as not to draw any attention to what the family is doing. Entering the world of public middle school puts Jory in another world, where he begins to make friends, and takes stock of the family- especially Caleb.
I loved this book because it touches a difficult topic: children living with mentally unbalanced adults. As young as he is, Jory knows he has to take a stand.
Middle school kids have a hard enough time just being who they are. Youth books like Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, features middle school culture. What happens when someone in a class is just too different.? How will a main character act if his peers want to reject the strange someone? Half a Man by Michael Murpurgo features a grandson who tries to understand the nature of his grandfather's serious burn injuries from wartime. Books can teach readers to look deeply and gain some sense of compassion. Youth books like these are doors for the development of heart and soul, in the guise of a good story.