Jessica Spotswood will be at TFOB next weekend!
I taught several of these historical fiction short stories to correspond with 7th/8th grade, Social Studies and English Language Arts CC Standards. Not all are appropriate for a middle school audience, so it's probably best to send home a parental notice first, and have substitute stories ready for students whose parents object. There is some foul language and some sexuality. You know your students, so pick and choose the stories that you feel will work best for their reading and maturity levels. One story, while I loved it, begins with an implied rape and features a female student shooting her teacher's abuser at school. Another dealt with the emerging lesbian community after WWII in California.
I chose to teach "Bonnie and Clyde," a story about a gender-bending woman bank robber. "The Color of the Sky" uses the N-word, and needs a classroom discussion about the term and how and why it was used, to establish expectations prior to reading, but is well worth the effort. "Hard Times" is appropriate for MG audiences, and hits the 7th grade CC Standards, S1.C8. PO 1&2, for the Great Depression.