Book covers of the following titles that were the Middle School TAB's Top Ten Picks 2024 at H-B Woodlawn: Wild Robot (2020) Mexikid: A graphic memoir (2023) When life gives you lemons, make peach pie (2021) The Ogress and the Orphans (2022) Front Desk (series) (2018) The Hobbit (1937) Everything, Everything (2017) Midnight Children (2022) Fault Lines in the Constitution: The graphic novel: The framers, their fight and the flaws that affect us today (2020) Spirit Hunters (series) (2017)

Pedro Martin, author, with 7 readers from H-B Woodlawn with book cover of Mexikid and thanks to APL and APS library services. We loved Mexikid!

Join Middle School TAB most Friday lunches. Find details and additional book clubs at library's web pages. Image displays 3 TAB members and a cart of books.


We meet most Fridays and had our last meeting for this year, so join us next fall!

Eat your lunch, then join us in the library. We start around 11:50.

See the books TAB members are recommending this year.

What is TAB?  It’s a book club. We talk about books, have lively lunchtime visits together, meet real authors, and make new friends! APL’s librarian Mike joins us to help us know about events in the public library, too, and H-B’s readers help him, Maggie and Carol know which of our newest books are hot with readers! We like to focus ESPECIALLY on the newest works of fiction coming into libraries, including award winners!

When and Where?

  • Middle Schoolers eat their lunches quickly elsewhere and then come to the library on most Fridays at lunchtime.   We have completed our meetings for this year and are preparing for JuneTime opportunities to focus on books.
  • High Schoolers meet for pizza with readers from W-L, Wakefield and Yorktown at Central Library the first Tuesday of each month, starting October. (If you like, give your email address to Maggie and she can help you connect with the Arlington Public Librarians for TAB notices.)

Join Middle School TAB and Talk About Books. Fridays at Lunch. We Talk about books and organize events with authors. Visual shows book covers of about 9 of this year's TAB books.

What are some recent highlights? In April, 2023 we enjoyed Pedro Martin’s visit with middle school TABs from across Arlington and learned how he created his graphic memoir, Mexikid.   In March, 2023 we had author Kelly Yang visit to tell us and middle schoolers across APS about her new book Finally Seen. We got free copies of that book and she signed them for us!  In 2022, we enjoyed Gordon Korman’s visit to ALL TAB, and shared our book recommendations all year long. We made bookmarks like Sample 1 and  Sample 2. We provided survey input to the Arlington PUBLIC library and learned about their summer reading program. The Public Library made posters and bookmarks to share our Top Ten (listed below) across the county. Students in TAB sometimes take on an individualized reading challenge, provide a Brownies n Books or Reading Group leadership. What will this year look like? Bring your ideas to each meeting.

History: TAB began over 30 years ago as a partnership between the Arlington County Public Library and the students in 6th grade and higher in Arlington Public Schools. It was designed to get student input and involvement in the selection of books by the libraries and as a resource for committees making recommendations on “best books.”  In 2000, we received a national award form the American Library Association honoring our partnership. Articles from the following sources explain more of the history of the award winning collaboration:  VOYA and  Arlington Connection.

Who can join?  Any middle or high school student in APS at any time of the year! (Don’t worry if you can’t come to every meeting.) TAB is a book club that runs in each of APS’s middle schools and sometimes those clubs join together for their activities.

How it worked — THEN… AND NOW:
Before recent legislation changed how book clubs can function in schools:
TAB students read and reviewed new titles purchased in partnership with the public library. (Many of those books end up on the annual award lists.) Students spent the school year reading whichever books they like from our TAB shelves. They rated their reads with 1-5 stars and provided our group a quick review.  In the Spring, TAB members would vote to determine which of the TAB collection deserve to be the “Top 10” titles, creating a list for each middle school in Arlington.  (It has been very cool to see which newly published and best-selling books each school picked and those results are below!)

But starting Fall, 2023 the governor’s directive, 2022 Virginia legislation and policy that APS School Board reluctantly issued in accordance therewith resulted in changes to TAB. Participants will now select from our entire library what books to spotlight and bring forth in our meetings. There will no longer exist a focused “TAB Collection” of newest best-selling and award winning fiction selected and purchased for middle schoolers by our public and school librarians.

TAB meetings still enable us to spotlight special activities such as March Book Madness (it’s a “battle of the books” tournament), pizza parties, virtual and face-to-face meetings with famous authors. We share information about book festivals and reading contests. The highlight of the year is when we go on a field trip to All TAB. It’s an event during which we join middle school TAB participants from all around APS for a presentation by a super famous author. And then she signs your book!

The 2024 “TOP 10” Picks:  from the many books TAB members recommended this year. 

Wild Robot (2020)

Mexikid: A graphic memoir (2023)

When life gives you lemons, make peach pie (2021)

The Ogress and the Orphans (2022)

Front Desk (series) (2018)

The Hobbit (1937)


Everything (2017)

Midnight Children (2022)

Fault Lines in the Constitution: The graphic novel: The framers, their fight and the flaws that affect us today (2020)

Spirit Hunters (series) (2017)

Honorable Mention:  Redwood and Ponytail (2019) and The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise (2019) and the classic Watership Down.

The 2023 “TOP 10” Picks:


TAB's Top Ten Picks of 2021-2022 are shown with book covers for Carry me home by Janet Fox Freedom Swimmer by Wal Chim Hollow Chest by Brita Sandstrom Linked by Gordon Korman Long Lost by Jacqueline West Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga Room to Dream by Kelly Yang Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim Vacancy by K.R. Alexander

The 2021-2022 “Top 10 Picks:

Carry Me Home by Janet Fox

Freedom Swimmer by Wal Chim

Hollow Chest by Brita Sandstrom

Linked by Gordon Korman

Long Lost by Jacqueline West

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

Room to Dream by Kelly Yang

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Vacancy by K.R. Alexander


The 2020-2021 “TOP 10” Picks:

Find them at the public library– here’s their list!

Race to the bottom of the earth: Surviving Antarctica by Rebecca Barone

The Rise of the Halfing King (Series: Tales of the Feathered Serpent: The Rise of the Halfling King) by David Bowles

Fighting words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Class Act by Jerry Craft

Cut Off by Adrianne Finlay

The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love and Truth by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson.

Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright.

War Stories by Gordon Korman

Primer: A Superhero Graphic Novel by Jennifer Muro

Three Keys by Kelly Yang

Book covers of the novels selected as the Top Ten Picks of the year by TAB.

The 2019-2020 “TOP 10” Picks:

Supernova by Marissa Meyer

Guts by Raina Telgemeier

Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick

Stargazing by Jen Wang

Slay by Brittney Morris

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Teen Titans Raven by Kami Garcia

Up for Air by Laurie Morrison

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi

Honorable Mention: Cape by Kate Hannigan


The 2018-2019 “TOP 10” Picks:

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

The Cardboard KIngdom by Chad Sell

My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero with Erica Moroz

The Rule of One by Ashley and Leslie Saunders

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

Breakout by Kate Messner

Crush by Svetlana Chmakova

Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk

Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan tied with Takedown by Laura Shovan

The 2017-2018 “TOP 10” Picks:

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Restart by Gordon Korman

Swing it Sunny by Jennifer Holm

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Warcross by Marie Lu

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Brave by Svetlana Chmakova

First Rule of Punk by Cecilia Perez

Solo by Kwame Alexander


THE 2016-17 “TOP 10” PICKS

Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds

The Best Man by Richard Peck

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

It’s not so Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Lodestar by Shannon Messenger

Nothing But Trouble by Jaqueline Davies

Unplugged by Donna Freitus

THE 2015-16 “TOP 10” PICKS

Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks

Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko

Apple and Rain: A Story to Fix a Broken Heart by Sarah Crossan

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

“Masterminds” series by Gordon Korman

“The Young Elite” series, including Rose Society by Marie Lu

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

“The Sword of Summer series, including Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

THE 2014-2015 “TOP 10” PICKS
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
“The Blood of Olympus” (series) by Rick Riordan
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer Smith


Ideas for staying engaged with reading all summer long:

HBW’s students read like crazy in the summer.

Arlington Public Library offers a summer reading program. (Registration helps raise money for charity and makes students eligible for prizes!)

Start or Join a Summer Book Club: Students are encouraged to find friends with whom to make regular visits to the public library (“each Thursday at 10 am,” for example) and form a summer book club. Middle Schoolers are free to set up a Google Classroom for help with communication.

Planning for a Successful Summer Book Club:

  1. You can have your first meeting before summer starts in the library at lunchtime, if you like. Fridays are great for that.  Want Maggie to advertise it? Pop in to make the arrangements.
  2. It’s helpful if you pick a day and time of the week when you’ll meet during the summer and put it onto your calendars (Every other Thursday all summer at 10 am?  Fridays, noon each week in July?)
  3. Share contact information with one another.
  4. Pick a location where you’ll meet (at the public library? at Dunkin’ Donuts? at specific homes?)
  5. Consider picking a theme that would draw in like-minded readers.  (For example:  “Fans of Fantasy and Sci Fi” or “World War II Fiction for middle schoolers.”)
  6. You want to give your members the chance to nominate and then vote on the books for discussion if you’re all to read and discuss the same title.  Alternatively, you can gather regularly simply to share on WHATEVER books you are reading.
  7. Make a goal for your group:  “We’ll read and discuss 3 books by Sept. 4.”
  8. Give members enough time to find the books in the library or order them for delivery.
  9. Take turns “running” the meeting if you think people will enjoy structure by applying ideas such as these Tips for Book Discussions.  (It often helps to think of questions to ask before the meeting starts.) If one person is “hosting” the meeting and might get distracted with such duties, consider having someone else run the actual discussion.
  10. If the group agrees, open your discussions to parents and friends to participate.
  11. Last, but vital: It can be fun to put names on the schedule who who is bringing “treats” if, for example, you want to have snacks each meeting.

Corner Bookmark:

Butterfly Bookmark: