Thanks Frank -- saved me the trouble of posting this, which I was going to do tonight.
And Ryan, this is a guest post on a very popular blog run by Brigid Alverson to which several people contribute. I've been invited to post again, though, which may be partly why they created that chibi for me.
A good book for middle schoolers is "Stuck in the Middle" edited by Ariel Schrag from Viking Press. A few of the stories have some mature language, but many more speak to themes of love, friendship, and family that are appropriate for teaching mood, tone, and theme itself.