A playlist of songs about animals (both actual & metaphorical), interviews with Chelsea Hodson & Celeste Ng, an excerpt from Jenni Fagan's new memoir, and more
I taught 8th grade LA for 9 years and two of my favorite books to teach were The Book Thief and The Knife of Never Letting Go. Engaging for that age group plus they can both be taught from so many angles thematically and are great ‘discussion’ books.
I taught eighth grade for five years some years ago. The texts that engaged them the most were (unsurprisingly) those they chose for book clubs and independent reading but also the short stories we studied as a class, especially stories of suspense from Poe, DuMaurier, and others. I tend to think that I focused too much in middle and high school on teaching novels and other full-length texts versus stories, poems, and essays. One of the shorter pieces that had the biggest impact: Richard Wright's The Ethics of Living Jim Crow.