Summer 2013 Reading Assignment for 7th & 8th Grade Students

posted Jun 11, 2013, 10:51 AM by Sylwia Jasinski

Summer Reading Assignment  - Grades 7 and 8

All incoming 7th and 8th grade students are required complete the following assignment and reading log over the summer. The assignment and reading log will be collected during the first week of school (September 9, 2013) and will be counted in the first marking period average.   Students should be reading daily for at least 30-35 minutes. This will help them build their independent reading stamina.

Below is a list of books that are recommended for incoming 7th and 8th graders. Students may read any of these books to complete the assignment and the reading log. Students may not read a book that they have already read.

Student may ONLY choose from the books on the list below for this assignment.

Summer Reading Assignment: 

Each assignment should be a minimum of 1 page TYPED in 12 inch font. Students must complete TWO of the following tasks for the assignment.


      1.    After reading two books, compare and contrast the main character(s) of each book. How are they alike? How are the different? How have they changed from the beginning of the book until the end? If you were them, would you have acted the same way? Pick this task if you want to read TWO books on the list.

      2.    Keep a diary/journal in the voice of a character from your book. You can follow the events of the novel and give your chosen character's impressions and reflections on those events. Be sure to go beyond the obvious. Sure, she might have been sad when her father died, but how would she write about that in a journal? What thoughts are racing through her mind? Who does she turn to for support? Is there any anger or frustration in her voice? Perhaps a sense of relief? Pick this task if you feel like the book's characters really came alive for you.

      3.    Write an interview transcript with a character, with you as interviewer or with someone else as interviewer. (Examples: you interview Charlie in Flowers for Algernon; Gloria Steinem interviews Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter).

      4.    Write a scene that could have happened in the book you read but didn’t.  After you have written the scene, explain how it could have changed the outcome of the book.

5. Create an alternate ending for the book. This should be at least 5 paragraphs. Think about what you didn't like about the end. What would you change? Why?

6. Create a script for one of your favorite scenes from your book. Include a minimum of 80 lines of dialogue. Characterization and stage directions must be used.

7. Find at least two news articles from the past year that cover the same topic/s as the book that you have read. Include a brief summary of each article. Those brief summaries must be compiled into at least a one page paper which discusses your summary and analysis of the topic and how it connects to the novel that you have chosen to read. 

Summer Reading Novels

Grades 7 and 8


 This list includes a wide variety of books to appeal to the interests and reading levels of many students. Parents are encouraged to review book selections with their children in order to help them make appropriate choices.

F- Fiction

NF – Non Fiction

Alvarez, Julia. HOW TIA LOLA CAME TO (VISIT) STAY.  A delightfully entertaining story of family and culture from acclaimed author Julia Alvarez. Moving to Vermont after his parents split, Miguel has plenty to worry about! Tía Lola, his quirky, carismática, and maybe magical aunt makes his life even more unpredictable when she arrives from the Dominican Republic to help out his Mami.


Abdel-Fattah, Randa. DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? 16-year-old Ama, an Australian-born Muslim Palestinian, decides she is ready to wear the hijab, or head covering, as a sign of her deep faith. Ama copes with misconceptions and discrimination in a humorous way as she defends her decision to herself and others.


 Abrahams, Peter. DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE. Ingrid lands the starring role in Alice in Wonderland while becoming caught up in the murder investigation of an eccentric neighbor. The first book in the series, An Echo Falls Mystery. (F)


 Ambrose, Stephen E. THE GOOD FIGHT: HOW WORLD WAR II WAS WON. Ambrose presents a concise, readable chronicle of World War II through amazing photographs and research. (NF)


 Angleberger, Tom. THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA. Dwight dons a puppet on his finger—an origami Yoda. His classmates soon realize that the strange advice Origami Yoda provides will help them solve their middle school problems. The first in the Origami Yoda series. (F)

 Applegate, Katherine. THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN. Spectators come to see Ivan, a silverback gorilla, and other animals housed behind the glass walls in the Big Top Mall. He is content until Ruby, a baby elephant from Africa, joins the group. Ivan is now determined to find Ruby a way out of this caged existence. This is loosely based on a true story. (F)


 Appelt, Kathi. THE UNDERNEATH. Set in the bayou, the Underneath is the place below the front porch where Gar-Face chains up Ranger, a hound dog who befriends a cat and her kittens. It’s safe for this family in the Underneath, but when one kitten ventures out, it alters all their fates. (F)


 Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. THE BOY WHO DARED. Awaiting his execution in jail, a German teenager recalls Hitler’s rise to power and the courage he found to stand up against the Nazi regime. (F)


 Baskin, Nora Raleigh. ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL. Jason, an autistic teenager with a talent for creative writing, struggles to find acceptance in his middle school community. (F)


Baskin, Nora Raleigh. SUMMER BEFORE BOYS. Julia and Eliza are lifelong friends who have shared everything until one develops her first real crush. The girls find themselves drifting apart until Eliza does something drastic to win back her best friend. (F)


Booraem, Ellen. SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS. For generations, the Turpin family has been providing sanctuary for Parvi, known in some circles as fairies. In return for this protection, these Small Persons with Wings gave the family a magical moonstone. Trouble begins when the Parvi want their moonstone back, but the Turpins can’t find it. As the Parvi become more and more angry, this clever fantasy becomes more hilarious. (F)


Bridges, Ruby. THROUGH MY EYES. Ruby Bridges tells the moving story of her year in first grade at the all-white William Frantz Public School in New Orleans in 1960. (NF)


Choat, Beth. SOCCERLAND. The cover says it all! Flora is such a good soccer player that she has been invited to the International Sports Academy to compete for a chance to play for the U.S. Girls’ Soccer Team. It’s her first time away from home, but she works hard to make new friends as well as trying to become the best soccer player that she can be. (F)


Choldenko, Gennifer. NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT. Living unexpectedly in a dreamland, India, Finn, and Mouse search for clues to solve the puzzle to find their way back home. (F)


Clements, Andrew. THINGS NOT SEEN. Bobby wakes up invisible. His parents and his new blind friend, Alicia, try to reverse his condition. Also, Things Hoped For and Things That Are. (F)


Cody, Matthew. POWERLESS. Moving to a new town, Daniel knows he’ll find super friends – but he never imagines he’ll have friends with super powers! Being around kids who can fly and become invisible, Daniel feels powerless, until one day when he learns that his friends mysteriously lose their powers when they turn thirteen. Racing against the calendar, Daniel realizes that if he can find a way to help his friends, he may be able to be the town’s super hero after all! (F)


Condie, Ally. MATCHED. Torn between loving her best friend Xander who was chosen by Society as her “match,” or defying the government and opening her heart to Ky Markem, Cassia Reyes is forced to make the hardest decisions of her life – believe in the government’s system or follow her heart. The first book in the Matched Trilogy. (F)


Connor, Leslie. WAITING FOR NORMAL. Wanting a “normal” life, Addie is forced to make it on her own when her mother neglects to live up to her responsibilities. (F)


Cummings, Priscilla. RED KAYAK. Brady knows that his friends are responsible for a mean prank that results in an accidental tragedy. Plagued by this guilty secret, Brady struggles with the truth and its consequences. (F)


Detorie, Rick. ACCIDENTAL GENIUS OF WEASEL HIGH. In this hybrid novel/graphic novel, Larkin Pace faces many perils his freshman year: his parents, the bossy older sister, a bully, girl troubles, and a weird best friend. But he faces them with hilarious drawings and a sense of humor. (F)


Deuker, Carl. PAYBACK TIME. In pursuit of a killer story, Mitch is determined to find out the truth about a new football player, Angel, at his high school. As he starts asking tough questions, everyone’s lips seemed to be sealed about the player’s true identity. Mitch will do whatever it takes to find out who Angel is and what he has done. The truth will surprise everyone! (F)


Dionne, Erin. THE TOTAL TRAGEDY OF A GIRL NAMED HAMLET. Hamlet Kennedy’s eighth grade year is plagued by many things including: a genius seven-year- old sister who will attend Hamlet’s middle school this year, geeky Shakespeare scholar parents, and now, a Shakespeare project for school. (F)


DuPrau, Jeanne. CITY OF EMBER. The year is 241. Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger and finds part of an ancient message she feels sure will help save her decaying city. The first in The Books of Ember series. (F)


Ellis, Deborah. THE BREADWINNER. Parvana lives in Kabul, Afghanistan. When conditions grow desperate for her family, she poses as a boy so she can earn money to help them. (F)


Engle, Margarita. THE FIREFLY LETTERS: A SUFFRAGETTE’S JOURNEY TO CUBA. Fredrika Bremer is a Swedish suffragist visiting Cuba in 1851. Cecilia is a Black slave serving as Fredrika’s translator. Elena is the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Based on a true story and written in alternating narratives, this free verse novel tells the story of three different women, all dreaming of their own form of freedom. (F)


Engle, Margarita. THE SURRENDER TREE: POEMS OF CUBA’S STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM. Follow Rosa, a healer, who nurses runaway slaves and Cuban deserters in caves and other secret hideaways. As her fame grows, Rosa's enemies relentlessly hunt her down, attempting to break the Cuban spirit of resistance. (NF)


Feinstein, John. LAST SHOT: A FINAL FOUR MYSTERY. Stevie and Susan Carol win a sports writing contest and have a chance to cover the NCAA Final Four games. When these teenage journalists discover a scheme to fix the games, they go undercover to stop the plot. The first in Feinstein’s sports mystery series. (F)


Ferguson, Alane. THE CHRISTOPHER KILLER: A FORENSIC MYSTERY. Interested in forensic science, seventeen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney assists her father in the autopsy of a local murder victim. Cameryn begins to further investigate the murder and becomes dangerously involved in finding the killer. This is the first book in the Forensic Mystery series. (F)


Flake, Sharon. THE SKIN I’M IN. Thirteen-year-old Maleeka, an excellent student who is choosing the wrong friends, meets a new teacher who helps her discover who she is and what she believes. (F)


Fleischman, John. PHINEAS GAGE. This is the gruesome, true account of an accident that happened to a railroad foreman in Vermont in 1848. A 13-pound iron rod shot through his brain. He survived but became a textbook case in brain science. (NF)


Fleming, Candace. AMELIA LOST: THE LIFE AND DISAPPEARANCE OF AMELIA EARHART. This fascinating biography alternates between the story of Amelia Earhart’s life and the days surrounding her disappearance. Through photos, sidebars, maps, and letters, the author gives readers a compelling glimpse at the life of a legend. (NF)


Fleming, Candace. THE GREAT AND ONLY BARNUM: THE TREMENDOUS, STUPENDOUS LIFE OF SHOWMAN P.T. BARNUM. This biography takes a look at the life of the entrepreneur and showman P.T. Barnum, the man behind The Greatest Show on Earth. From jumbo elephants to three-ring circuses, the story follows Barnum from his childhood to his amazing success to financial disaster and back again. (NF)


Freedman, Russell. ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND FREDERICK DOUGLAS: THE STORY BEHIND AN AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP. This book traces the powerful friendship and parallel lives of two men who shaped American history- one man an American president, the other a leading black abolitionist. It is a carefully researched account of how their lives intersected at a critical moment in U.S. history. Though their meetings were few and brief, their exchange of ideas helped to end the Civil War, reunite the nation, and abolish slavery. (NF)


Freedman, Russell. THE WAR TO END ALL WARS: WORLD WAR I. This is a highly-readable account of World War I - from the broad causes and consequences to the heartbreaking personal details of trench warfare. The technology, the battles, the leaders, and the soldiers are all included in a fascinating narrative that is accompanied by arresting photographs and helpful maps. (NF)


Frost, Helen. HIDDEN. When Wren and Darra end up at the same summer camp as teenagers they instantly recognize each other, although they have never met. The girls spend the summer searching for answers This novel-in-poems is written in alternating points of view. (F)


Gaiman, Neil. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. After losing his family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard, where he will be raised by the groundskeeper and the ghosts that dwell there. As he grows up, he learns that his family’s killer is still out there looking for him. (F)



Gantos, Jack. DEAD END IN NORVELT. Jack spends his summer grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor, Miss Volker, with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead – writing obituaries. Jack and Miss Volker are alarmingly busy, as residents die in rapid succession. The author combines this unlikely twosome with underage driving, lessons from history, and countless bloody noses to win the 2012 Newbery Medal. (F)


Gleitzman, Morris. ONCE. Determined to return to his hometown and find his Jewish parents, Felix runs away from the safety of a Catholic orphanage, only to be faced with the brutal violence and cruel truth of the Nazi regime. The first in the trilogy: Once, Then, Now. (F)


Goodall, Jane. THE CHIMPANZEES I LOVE: SAVING THEIR WORLD AND OURS. Imagine a curiosity and passion that compels you to live in a community of chimpanzees. Dr. Goodall tells of her discoveries about chimpanzees, her love for them, and her campaign for the protection of these amazing animals. (NF)


Greenwald, Tom. CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’S GUIDE TO NOT READING. Charlie Joe Jackson hates to read. He hates to read so much he’ll do whatever it takes to NOT read. Charlie Joe’s perfect record of not reading is at stake as he enters middle school. Will he finally be forced to read a book or will his streak continue? Also, Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide To Extra Credit. (F)


Haddix, Margaret Peterson. FOUND. Thirteen years after a plane mysteriously lands in an airport with thirty-six baby passengers and no adults on board, the children from the flight begin to receive strange, unexplained letters. Jonah and Chip must work quickly to uncover the secrets of their past. The first in the series, The Missing. (F)


Haddix, Margaret Peterson. UPRISING. The lives of Bella, an Italian immigrant; Yetta, a Russian immigrant; and Jane, daughter of a wealthy American family, become intertwined. All three are caught up in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911. (F)


Hale, Shannon. RAPUNZEL’S REVENGE. This graphic novel retells the famous fairy tale in a Wild West setting. Rapunzel escapes the home her mother has turned into a prison and vows to destroy the evil empire with the help of her hair! (F)


Han, Jenny. SHUG. A twelve-year-old girl learns about friendship, first loves, and self-worth in a small town in the South. (F)


Han, Jenny. THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY. Belly spends every summer at her mom’s best friend’s beach house. Susannah’s sons, Conrad and Jeremiah, are always there and have been like brothers to her. But that all changes the summer Belly turns pretty. (F)


Hartman, Rachel. SERAPHINA. Fantasy lovers take note! Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. A treaty is about to be renewed, but rebels are unhappy with the treaty and would love to have it abolished. Seraphina is a half-dragon, half-human music teacher and has good reason to fear both sides. She keeps her identity a secret and struggles to fit in both worlds; she falls in love with the prince, has enlightening memories of her real mother, and communicates with other half-dragons in her dreams. (F)


Hiaasen, Carl. HOOT. Roy, who is new to his small Florida community and the target of a bully, becomes involved in another’s boy’s attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. (F)


Hiaasen, Carl. CHOMP. The difficult star of a reality television show disappears on location in the Florida Everglades where animals from the Crane family’s wildlife refuge are being filmed. Wahoo Crane and his friend Tuna set out to find the missing star, but they must avoid Tuna’s gun-happy father. (F)


Hobbs, Will. CROSSING THE WIRE. Fifteen-year-old Victor Flores travels north in a desperate attempt to cross the Arizona border and find work in the United States to support his family in central Mexico. (F)


Holm, Jennifer L. MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF: A YEAR TOLD THROUGH STUFF. Ginny uses “stuff” to share the ups and downs of her seventh grade year. Her stuff includes unique items such as to do lists, email, notes, receipts, diary entries, and much more. (F)


Hoose, Phillip M. CLAUDETTE COLVIN: TWICE TOWARD JUSTICE. In 1955, Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama and played an important, but little known, role in the Civil Rights Movement. (NF)


Horowitz, Anthony. STORMBREAKER. After the death of his uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex is coerced to continue his uncle’s dangerous work for Britain’s intelligence agency, M16. This is the first book in the Alex Rider spy thriller series. (F)


Hughes, Susan. CASE CLOSED? NINE MYSTERIES UNLOCKED BY MODERN SCIENCE. Was Egypt’s first female pharaoh murdered? Did the city of Ubar, located on the Arabian Peninsula, just vanish into thin air? Was Anastasia, a Russian princess, murdered, or is she alive and well? With the help of DNA testing and modern day science, uncover the truth behind these age-old mysteries. (NF)


Jackson, Donna M. ER VETS: LIFE IN AN ANIMAL EMERGENCY ROOM. Pet lovers will enjoy this real-life look into the daily world of veterinarians. (NF)


Jacobson, Jennifer Richard . SMALL AS AN ELEPHANT. Jack’s mom has always been unpredictable. Now she has left him all alone in the backwoods of Maine. With only a small souvenir elephant to keep him company, Jack is on his own to find his way home before the authorities realize that he has been abandoned. (F)


Jacques, Brian. REDWALL. This medieval fantasy of feisty rodents and high adventure has good battling with evil. The first in the Redwall series. (F)


Johnson, Angela. BIRD. BIRD is told from three points of view: a runaway, a young heart transplant recipient, and a boy who has just lost a brother. The threesome find one another as they search for love and connections. (F)


Kindl, Patrice. KEEPING THE CASTLE: A TALE OF ROMANCE, RICHES, AND REAL ESTATE. In the spirit of Jane Austen, Althea must marry a rich man in order to preserve her family’s position in society. Whom will she choose-Lord Boring or Mr. Fredericks? (F)


Kirkpatrick, Katherine. MYSTERIOUS BONES: THE STORY OF KENNEWICK MAN. This illustrated book explores the 1996 discovery of the skeletal remains of the Kennewick Man, one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever recovered in this country. When two young men accidentally uncover a skeleton along a bank of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington, they have no idea that their discovery will lead to one of the most important archaeological controversies of modern times and pit scientists against Native American tribes in a nine-year battle for control of the remains. (NF)


Korman, Gordon. SCHOOLED. Capricorn Anderson, homeschooled by his grandmother on their commune, enrolls in the local middle school with unexpected and humorous consequences. (F)


Korman, Gordon. UNGIFTED. Donovan Curtis, legendary jokester and average eighth grade student, knows he has gone too far when his latest prank causes thousands of dollars worth of damage to the school gym. When an unexpected turn of events accidentally sends Donovan to the “gifted” school, he knows he’s in way over his head. Told through various points of view, both Donovan and his new genius friends begin to realize that despite their differences, they still have things to learn from one another. (F)

Lai, Thanhla. INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN. Ha and her family flee Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. There she struggles with grammar, customs, dress (she wears a flannel nightgown to school, for example), and also cruel rejection from mean classmates. Based on the author’s experiences as a child refugee, this National Book Award and 2012 Newbery Honor winner is both humorous and heartbreaking. (F)


Landon, Kristen. THE LIMIT. Matt’s family has just spent their monthly debt limit. In this society, when you hit the limit, the government wants the family to surrender a child to work off that debt. Can Matt do it? (F)


Law, Ingrid. SAVVY. When Beaumont family members turn thirteen, they receive their “savvy” or magical gift unique to each one of them. Mibs’ thirteenth birthday arrives when her father is out of town and becomes ill. Mibs, her savvy, and a cast of characters hit the road to save him. Also, the companion novel Scumble. (F)


Lester, Julius. DAY OF TEARS. This is a fictionalized, heart-wrenching account of the 1859 slave auction on the Georgia plantation of Pierce Butler. (F)


Lopez, Diana. CONFETTI GIRL. Lina Flores loves sports and science, has an obsession with socks, and might have a crush on classmate Luis. Lina, with the help of her friend Vanessa, is trying to survive the drama of middle school, as well as help her father cope with the recent loss of her mother. (F)


Lupica, Mike. HEAT. Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only twelve years old, and he has no parents to offer them proof. (F)


Lupica, Mike. HERO. In this fast-paced adventure story, fourteen year old Zach Harriman races to uncover the mystery behind his dad’s death, while also learning to control his new superhero powers. Will he discover the truth and learn to trust himself in time to face his father’s fiercest enemies – or will he be too late? (F)


McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. UNDER THE MESQUITE. When her mom is diagnosed with cancer, Lupita struggles to maintain her life as a Mexican-American high school student and budding actress, while also caring for her younger siblings. Written in verse, this is an unforgettable story about family bonds, the healing power of words, and the strength it takes to face overwhelming loss. (F)


Meloy, Maile. THE APOTHECARY. Janie Scott’s family has just moved from Los Angeles to London where she meets Benjamin Burrows, the son of a mysterious apothecary. When Ben’s father is kidnapped, Janie and Ben must use the apothecary’s magical book, The Pharmacopoeia, to find him and save the world. (F)


Middaugh, Dallas. THE CITY OF EMBER: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL. This graphic novel reintroduces Ember, the doomed city of darkness that was built to ensure that humans would continue to exist on Earth. On Assignment Day, 12-year-olds leave school and receive their lifetime job assignments. Lina becomes a messenger, and her friend Doon ends up in the Pipeworks beneath the city. They unearth an evil plot from the government to steal away precious resources from people who live in Ember. Using clues left behind by Lina’s late grandmother, they travel beneath Ember’s tunnels in a desperate attempt to find a way out. (F)


Montgomery, Sy. KAKAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD’S STRANGEST PARROT. The flightless Kakapo parrots had at one time numbered in the millions. They’re most unusual because of their size (not the longest, but the heaviest parrot) and the fact that they bury their nests underground. Now 14 scientists are working to save the remaining 91 parrots, located on a small island off the coast of New Zealand. (NF)


Montgomery, Sy and Temple Grandin. TEMPLE GRANDIN: HOW THE GIRL WHO LOVED COWS EMBRACED AUTISM AND CHANGED THE WORLD. This biography explores the life and mind of Temple Grandin, a brilliant autistic woman who revolutionized the livestock industry. (NF)


Moore, Wes. DISCOVERING WES MOORE. Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart and within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both ran into trouble with the police. How did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? When Wes Moore wrote to his namesake in prison, they began a remarkable friendship. This story looks at the challenges of growing up and the power of the choices that people make in their lives. (NF)


Morpurgo, Michael. AN ELEPHANT IN THE GARDEN. Based on a true story, a family flees for safety and takes an orphaned zoo elephant with them. The setting is World War II and Dresden, Germany is being bombed. (F)


Morpurgo, Michael. PRIVATE PEACEFUL. Two young brothers, Tommo and Charlie Peaceful, are faced with the reality of trench warfare and life as soldiers during World War I. As Tommo reflects back on his childhood, this touching and emotional story intertwines his past family struggles with his current soldier life. (F)


Morpurgo, Michael. WAR HORSE. In 1914, Joey, a beautiful stallion with a distinctive cross on his nose, is bought by the British army. He leaves his owners and his life on an English farm and becomes a cavalry horse. He is shipped to France and witnesses horrific battle after battle with the German calvary, always hoping to be reunited with his beloved master, Albert. (F)


Mulligan, Andy. TRASH. Three boys live with hundreds of other families beside a city’s mountainous garbage dumpsite. Their days are spent picking through trash for something to use, something to sell, or something to eat. One day their lives change forever after one of them finds a bag that contains a wallet, a key, and a map. (F)


Myers, Walter Dean and Ross Workman. KICK. Walter Dean Myers co-authors this novel with teenage author Ross Workman to tell two sides of the same story. Ross Workman writes from Kevin’s point of view. Kevin is an accomplished soccer player, now struggling with problems with the law. Myers writes from the point of view of Sergeant Brown, who has taken a special interest in Kevin, since he’s the son of a police officer killed in the line of duty. This is a unique collaboration of authors. (F)


Myers, Walter Dean. THE CRUISERS. While attending an academy for the gifted in New York City, eighth grader Zander Scott and his co-workers on the school’s underground newspaper must find a creative way to stop the growing racial tensions at their school. (F)


Namioka, Lensey. TIES THAT BIND, TIES THAT BREAK. In China in 1911, Ailin resists tradition and pressure from her family by refusing to have her feet bound to make her more attractive for her future husband. Her act of defiance alters her life forever. (F)


Nelson, Kadir. HEART AND SOUL: THE STORY OF AMERICANS AND AFRICAN AMERICANS. Written in the voice of “Everywoman,” an unnamed narrator whose ancestors came to this country on slave ships, Heart and Soul touches on events from colonial days through the civil rights movement. Readers will find the images as captivating as the stories. (NF)


Nelson, Kadir. WE ARE THE SHIP: THE STORY OF NEGRO LEAGUE BASEBALL. The early 1900s Negro League Baseball consisted of players who made great sacrifices and showed tremendous courage in the face of adversity, all for the sake of the game they loved. (NF)


Paulsen, Gary. MY LIFE IN DOG YEARS. The author describes some of the dogs that were special to him during his life. (NF)


Paulsen, Gary. LIAR, LIAR: THE THEORY, PRACTICE AND DESTRUCTIVE PROPERTIES OF DECEPTION. Kevin is assigned a project from his social studies teacher, and his partner is Katie. Since Kevin is a masterful teller of lies, he manufactures a disease for himself to avoid working with her. The first in The Theory, Practice, and Destructive Properties of Deception series. (F)


Paulsen, Gary. WOODS RUNNER. Samuel’s parents have been taken from their home in colonial Pennsylvania by the British and the Iroquois right before the onset of the Revolutionary War. Samuel has been fending for himself in the woods for years and is determined to use his skills to rescue his parents--even if it means he has to track them to New York City and British headquarters. (F)


Peters, Julie Anne. DEFINE NORMAL. The outstanding student, Antonia, is matched up with the unusual and mysterious punker, Jazz, for a peer-counseling program. As the counseling sessions progress, the two girls discover that they have many things in common. (F)


Pfeffer, Susan Beth. LIFE AS WE KNEW IT. When a meteor hits the moon and knocks it off its axis, life on earth is altered forever. High-school student Miranda keeps a diary about how her family copes without electricity, food and gas shortages, and extreme weather changes. (F)


Pratchett, Terry. NATION. A tsunami brings two young survivors together to rebuild an island nation. Although the native boy and British girl speak different languages, they're finding a way to overcome their differences as they struggle to survive. (F)


Pullman, Phillip. THE GOLDEN COMPASS. This fantasy relates Lyra’s adventures while preventing her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming victims of experiments in the Far North. The first in His Dark Materials Trilogy. (F)


Preus, Margi. HEART OF A SAMURAI: BASED ON THE TRUE STORY OF NAKAHAMA MANJIRO. After being stranded on an uninhabited island and then rescued by an American whaling ship in the mid 1800s, Manjiro and his fishermen friends must decide if they will adapt to American life or stay true to their Japanese heritage. Based on a fascinating true story, this is the inspirational and courageous account of one man’s journey home. (F)


Reedy, Trent. WORDS IN THE DUST. Zulaikha is an Afghan girl who was born with a cleft palate. She suffers merciless teasing from others in her village. She is noticed by a soldier when American forces are traveling through her village, and he offers to arrange the surgery that will repair her birth defect. Zulaikha is caught between opportunity and tradition in her culture that young American readers will find shocking but hopeful. (F)


Robinson, Sharon. PROMISES TO KEEP: HOW JACKIE ROBINSON CHANGED AMERICA. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947 when he began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In this photobiography, his daughter writes a personal account of this famous athlete and civil rights activist and the legacy he has left. (NF)


Rusch, Elizabeth. THE MIGHTY MARS ROVERS: THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF SPIRIT AND OPPORTUNITY. What's it like to explore Mars? Did life ever exist on Earth's red neighbor? This book follows the story of two robot vehicles, Spirit and Opportunity, sent to seek evidence on Mars of water that could have once supported life. Lasting far past their projected lives of three months, incredibly the rovers carried out their missions for more than six years and sent back invaluable images of the environmentally hostile planet. (NF)


Ryan, Pam Munoz. THE DREAMER. This fictional biography is the story of a shy Chilean boy who grows up feeling and seeing poetry all around him. The story illustrates how the poetry of Pablo Neruda was shaped by his domineering father as well as the beauty of nature. (F)


Ryan, Pam Munoz. ESPERANZA RISING. After her father is murdered, Esperanza Ortega is forced to flee her beloved El Rancho de las Rosas in Mexico to a migrant camp in California. (F)


Sandler, Martin W. LINCOLN THROUGH THE LENS: HOW PHOTOGRAPHPY REVEALED AND SHAPED AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE. This is a photo-biography which shows how innovative and important media was, especially photography during the presidency and life of Lincoln. This is one of several books in Sandler’s Through the Lens series. (NF)


Sandler, Martin W. SECRET SUBWAY: THE FASCINATING TALE OF AN AMAZING FEAT OF ENGINEERING. It’s the 1860s and New York City’s streets are swarming with immigrants and made deadly by hundreds of horse-drawn carriages leaving the streets with tons of manure. A brilliant engineer, Alfred Beach, tackles the problem by working secretly at night more than twenty feet underground, with dim lighting and in claustrophobic conditions, storing the dirt in a basement, and carting it away in the dark. What happens when his secret plan is discovered? (NF)


Say, Allen. DRAWING FROM MEMORY. This graphic novel chronicles Allen Say’s journey as an artist, from his childhood in World War II Japan to his apprenticeship under Noro Shinpei, Japan’s leading cartoonist. Using watercolor paintings, original cartoons, photographs and maps, the memoir looks at Say’s strained relationship with a father who did not understand his son’s art and the difficult path that led to Say’s success. (NF)


Schanzer, Rosalyn. WITCHES!: THE ABSOULTELY TRUE TALE OF DISASTER IN SALEM. “The doctor tried every remedy, but nothing cured the young Puritans. He grimly announced the dire diagnosis: the girls were bewitched! And then the accusations began.” The is the riveting, true story of the victims, accused witches, crooked officials, and mass hysteria that turned a mysterious illness affecting two children into a witch hunt that took over a dozen people’s lives and ruined hundreds more. (NF)


Schmidt, Gary. OKAY FOR NOW. Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck has just moved to a small town. With the help of an unlikely new friend, Lil, and a local librarian, Doug struggles to prove to the town that he is not just another thug. He learns to deal with his abusive father and survive the return of a brother scarred by Vietnam. (F)


Schrefer, Eliot. ENDANGERED. This is the story of a girl and an ape in one of the worst wars the modern world has known. Sophie's journey to escape the violence in the Congo while protecting her bonobo charge is certainly exciting, but more than that, it charts her evolution from an inexperienced and naive girl to a responsible and courageous young woman. (F)


Selznick, Brian. THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toy seller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized. This novel in words and pictures is the winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal. (F)


Smith, Roland. PEAK. Trouble with the law forces Peak Marcello to join his estranged father on a climbing adventure to the top of Mount Everest. As the story unfolds, Peak discovers his father’s true intentions and begins to realize how much danger awaits him as he climbs to the top of the mountain. (F)


Sonnenblick, Jordan. AFTER EVER AFTER. Jeffrey Alper, an eighth grade cancer survivor, has learned a lot about life, but there’s a lot that’s brand-new, such as how to fight for himself and for the people he loves. This is a hopeful and sometimes funny story about what happens when you stop surviving and start living again. (F)


Stiefvator, Maggie. SCORPIO RACES. The Scorpio Races take place every November on the small island of Thisby. This is no usual race. In the Scorpio Races, the riders are mounted on Capaille Uisce, beautiful, bloodthirsty water horses. Sean Kendrick, the returning champion, is a man of few words but has a unique understanding of these creatures. Puck Connolly is the first girl to enter the competition. She has to win or her family loses everything. This unusual pair forges a unique friendship, but only one can win the race. (F)


Stone, Tanya Lee. ALMOST ASTRONAUTS: 13 WOMEN WHO DARED TO DREAM. In the early 1960s, thirteen women, all pilots, sought admission into NASA’s first astronaut training program. The efforts of the Mercury 13 were crushed from many angles including the media, male astronauts, and the vice president of the United States. (NF)



This is a biographical account of John Wilkes Booth’s plot to kill the president and Booth’s twelve days on the run following Lincoln’s assassination. (NF)


Swanson, James L. BLOODY TIMES: THE FUNERAL OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND THE MANHUNT FOR JEFFERSON DAVIS. Alternating chapters of the story of Lincoln’s last days as a living and then martyred President with the story of Jefferson Davis’ attempt to keep the Confederacy alive make for a fascinating glimpse into history. The details of Lincoln’s funeral train, and the throngs of mourners as it travels to Springfield, Illinois, are interspersed with Davis’s journey to save the south as well as avoid arrest. (NF)


Telgemeier, Raina. DRAMA. In this graphic novel Callie loves musical theater, but she isn't much of a singer, so she works as a set designer for the school drama club. Her second year on stage crew is filled with drama, on and off the set, as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going. (F)


Telgemeier, Raina. SMILE. This graphic novel is based on the author’s real experience of losing her two front teeth when she was twelve years old. Her painful recovery involves extensive dental work while she survives middle school and finds out what real friends are. (F)


Tunnell, Michael. CANDY BOMBER: THE STORY OF THE BERLIN AIRLIFT’S “CHOCOLATE PILOT.” This is the true story of Gail Halvorsen, an American pilot and real-life hero who parachuted small bags of candy over the war-torn city of Berlin, giving hope to children and families during the aftermath of World War II. (NF)


Uusma, Bea. THE MAN WHO WENT TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON: THE STORY OF APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUT MICHAEL COLLINS. This is the story of Michael Collins who maneuvered through space while the first man walked on the moon. It includes scrapbook-style photos, notes, and seldom-mentioned details. (NF)


Van Draanen, Wendelin. FLIPPED. In alternating chapters, Bryce and Juli describe how their feelings for each other, themselves, and their families have changed over the years. (F)


Williams-Garcia, Rita. ONE CRAZY SUMMER. It is 1968, and Delphine and her two sisters have been put on a plane from Brooklyn to California to spend a month with their mother, a poet who abandoned the family years ago. During this crazy summer, the girls not only learn about their mother and the politics of this time period, but they each grow individually and come to better understand each other. (F)


Yohalem, Eve. ESCAPE UNDER THE FOREVER SKY: A NOVEL. Based on a true story, this novel tells of the kidnapping of the daughter of the ambassador to Ethiopia. Lucy uses her knowledge of African animals, her inventiveness, and her determination to survive as she tries to escape and return home. (F)


Yoo, Paula. GOOD ENOUGH. Patti tries to balance schoolwork, band, and boys while trying to please her Korean parents by getting into an Ivy League school. (F)

Sylwia Jasinski,
Jun 11, 2013, 10:51 AM