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Summer Reading Lists

Incoming Sixth Graders (6th) List Summary of each Book Selection

Remember to select two of the following titles:

The Bubble Wrap Boy By: Earle, Phil

Fourteen-year-old social outcast Charlie Han, known as "the short Chinese kid" at school, searches for a talent to improve his popularity, but when he discovers skateboarding, much to the disapproval of his overprotective mother, he also uncovers a huge family secret.

The Courage Test   By: Preller, James

Will has no choice. His father drags him along on a wilderness adventure in the footsteps of legendary explorers Lewis and Clark--whether he likes it or not. All the while, Will senses that something about this trip isn't quite right. Along the journey, Will meets fascinating strangers and experiences new thrills, including mountain cliffs, whitewater rapids, and a heart-hammering bear encounter. It is a journey into the soul of America's past, and the meaning of family in the future. In the end, Will must face his own, life-changing test of courage. A father-and-son journey along the Lewis and Clark Trail--from Fort Mandan to the shining sea--offers readers a genre-bending blend of American history, thrilling action, and personal discovery.

Dark Water Rising   By:  Hale, Marian

While salvaging and rebuilding in the aftermath of the Galveston flood of 1900, sixteen-year-old Seth proves himself in a way that his previous efforts never could, but he still must face his father man-to-man.

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans   By:  Brown, Don

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage -- and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality. Don Brown's kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history.

Every Soul a Star   By:  Mass, Wendy

Ally, Bree, and Jack meet at the one place the Great Eclipse can be seen in totality, each carrying the burden of different personal problems, which become dim when compared to the task they embark upon and the friendship they find.

Flash Fire   By: Cooney, Caroline

As fire sweeps through a canyon near Los Angeles, teenagers Danna and Hall Press and other children whose parents are not around must work together to save themselves.

Lost in the Labyrinth   By: Kindl, Patrice

Fourteen-year-old Princess Xenodice tries to prevent the death of her half-brother, the Minotaur, at the hands of the Athenian prince, Theseus, who is aided by Icarus, Daedalus and her sister Ariadne.

Medusa   By: Hirschmann, Kris

Describes the history of the legend of Medusa, including the ancient Greek myth of Perseus and the Gorgons, representations of Medusa in art, and modern versions of the monster in popular culture.

Quicksilver   By: Spinner, Stephanie

Hermes, Prince of Thieves and son of Zeus, relates why the seasonal change, the history of the Trojan War, his friendship with Pegasus, and many more adventures.

Wild Girl  By:  Giff, Patricia Reilly

When twelve-year-old Lidie leaves Brazil to join her father and brother on a horse ranch in New York, she has a hard time adjusting to her changed circumstances, as does a new horse that has come to the ranch.


Incoming Seventh  Graders (7th) List Summary of each Book Selection

Remember to select two of the following titles:

The Blackhope Enigma  By: Flavin, Teresa

For centuries, Blackhope Tower has been shrouded in intrigue, centering on a labyrinth and painting in the Mariner’s Chamber. When 14-year-old Sunni Forrest visits the tower and sees her stepbrother, Dean, disappear, seemingly into the painting itself, she must find him and risk being drawn into the heart of the Blackhope enigma. This is an action-packed novel that follows Dean, Sunni, and her friend Blaise on a journey to the heart of an age-old mystery.

The Buddha’s Diamonds  By:  Marsden, Carolyn

This graceful narrative is based in part on Niêm's childhood in Vietnam. Buddhist concepts are gently introduced and explained in the context of the story, but, more importantly, they are reflected in the tone and style. Tinh may be more spiritual than many of the youngsters in his village, but, at 10, he is still a child. He wants to play with his friends and he covets his cousin's fancy toys. At the same time, he has started to take on many adult responsibilities and is proud to work with his Ba catching fish to feed and support his family. When a storm hits his village, his father entrusts Tinh to secure their boat, but the boy panics and fails to do so. In reality, there was little that could have been done under the circumstances, but he clings to the hope that he can salvage it and win back his father's confidence. The sense of duty that he feels leads him to rethink his actions and his priorities. Cultural references are beautifully integrated into this lovely coming-of-age story.

Ender’s Game  By:  Card, Orson Scott

Child-hero Ender Wiggin must fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race if mankind is to survive.

Full Cicada Moon  By: Hilton, Marilyn

Mimi tells her story in this novel in verse that will resonate with fans of Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming (Penguin, 2014). The seventh grader describes arriving in small-town Vermont from Berkeley in 1969. While filling out a form, the teen is perplexed by which ethnicity to check off: her father is a black college professor, and her mother is Japanese (they married when he was a soldier stationed overseas). In 1969, mixed race is not an option on the form, nor is Oriental the same as Japanese. Mimi is fascinated by space and the moon landing. She designs a science project for school that requires the use of power tools—all this during a time when girls were not expected to be interested in science and were required to take home economics rather than shop. When Mimi bucks convention, there are repercussions and punishments. She weathers these with support from a smart girlfriend as well as a loyal and tender boy next door. Mimi's parents are engaged in and support the budding scientist's projects. This novel stands out with its thoughtful portrayal of race and its embrace of girls in science and technical fields. The verse, though spare, is powerful and evocative, perfectly capturing Mimi's emotional journey.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon By:  Barnhill, Kelly

"Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she's always known."

The Girls By: Koss, Amy Goldman

When the other members of Maya’s clique decide to ostracize her, the girl is shocked and devastated. She has no clue what she could have done wrong and neither do Brianna, Rene or Darcy. However, Candace is their leader, the self-assured one, the one who decides who’s in and who’s not and suddenly, Maya’s not. In brief chapters that jump from one girl’s perspective to another, a picture emerges of social status and peer pressure among middle schoolers who are struggling to figure out who they are, where they belong, and maybe even what is right.

Knots in My Yo-Yo String By:  Spinelli, Jerry

From first memories through high school, including first kiss, first punch, and first trip to the principal’s office, Newbery Medalist, Jerry Spinelli, has penned his autobiography with all the warmth, humor, and drama of his best- selling fiction.

The Land of Forgotten Girls By: Kelly, Erin Entrada

Abandoned by their father and living in poverty with their heartless stepmother in Louisiana, two sisters from the Philippines, twelve-year-old Sol and six-year-old Ming, learn the true meaning of family.

Poison Is Not Polite By: Stevens, Robin

In 1930s England, schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy's home for the holidays when someone falls seriously, mysteriously ill at a family party, but no one present is what they seem--and everyone has a secret or two--so the Detective Society must do everything they can to reveal the truth ... no matter the consequences.

What Came from the Stars By: Schmidt, Gary

In a desperate attempt for survival, a peaceful civilization on a faraway planet besieged by a dark lord sends its most precious gift across the cosmos into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, 6th-grader, of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Incoming Eighth  Graders (8th) List Summary of each Book Selection

After Tupac and D Foster  By:Woodson, Jacqueline

In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur’s music, as together, they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.

Caminar  By: Brown, Skila

Carlos, a young boy living in remote Guatemala, yearns to be a man and defend his village from the soldiers who are seeking Communist rebels. His mother, however, tells him to run to the trees to hide. He's in the jungle when the soldiers return, and he's left alone, full of shame because he did not help his people. Carlos comes across a small band of guerillas, and joins them in their race to warn the people in the village at the top of the mountain. Along the way, he learns valuable lessons about what it means to be a man and that a moment of fear does not keep one from being able to help in the future. The story, told in verse, is inspired by true events, and narrated by Christian Barillas. This is an excellent choice for middle school libraries.

Ghost  By: Reynolds, Jason

"Harry Gold was right: This is a big story." So begins this depiction of the "creation-and theft-of the deadliest weapon ever invented." As he did in The Notorious Benedict Arnold (Roaring Brook, 2010), Sheinkin has again brought his superior talent for storytelling to bear in what is truly a gripping account of discovery, espionage, and revolutionary changes in both physics and the modern world. This fascinating tale, packed with a wide cast of characters, focuses mainly on three individuals: spy for the Soviets Harry Gold, leader of the Manhattan Project J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Knut Haukelid, who sabotaged German bomb efforts while working for the Norwegian resistance. Sheinkin skillfully combines lucid, conversational snapshots of the science behind the atomic bomb with a fast-paced narrative of the remarkable people who made it possible and attempted to steal it. Handsomely designed and loaded with archival photos and primary-source documents, the accessible volume lays out how the bomb was envisioned and brought to fruition. While the historical information and hard facts presented here will likely be new to the intended audience, they in no way overwhelm readers or detract from the thoroughly researched, well-documented account.

The Gospel According to Larry  By: Tashjian, Janet

Josh is bright, articulate, idealistic, and in love with Beth, the girl next door and his best friend since sixth grade. Afraid to declare himself - especially in light of Beth's flirtations with a socially connected but intellectually suspect football player - he pours his energy into a clever Web site, through which his alter ego, Larry, advocates introspection, tolerance, and anti-consumerism. Beth adores Larry, as do thousands of other teens and adults across the nation. Now Josh has a new problem: when and how does he reveal Larry's true identity to Beth? Also, all of his best intentions become subverted as more people embrace Larry's values and a media circus ensues as Josh's identity is revealed. Big issues are addressed here: alienation, truthfulness, family loyalty, fame, privacy, friendship and love, and spiritual guidance. Larry's sermons are brief and pithy, and interspersed between Josh's fast-paced narrative of the events of the spring before his high school graduation and that summer. Tashjian's gift for portraying bright adolescents with insight and humor reaches near perfection here. The author proposes one more conceit on top of the Josh/Larry dichotomy: she offers herself as a character, presenting Josh's narrative as the purported manuscript she is handed in a grocery-store parking lot. A terrific read with a credible and lovable main character.

The Jumping Tree   By: Saldana, Rene

A lively novel told through vignettes about growing up in Nuevo Pe-itas, TX. American-born Rey and his loving family maintain close ties with their Mexican relatives, who live "a stone's throw" away across the border, yet have very different opportunities. Rey's family, though poor, struggles and survives through their kind and honest efforts, religious beliefs, and hard work. Just entering adolescence, Rey yearns to be a man like his father, uncles, and older male cousins. The boys of the barrio play marbles and "king of the mountain," climb trees, and collect cigarette butts. The title comes from one of the boys' challenges: to jump from the upper branches of a mammoth mesquite to another without falling. Unfortunately, Rey is the youngest and his legs are short. Predictably, he falls, and he ends up with a broken wrist. The writing is engaging and accessible, with Spanish-language phrases and names smoothly integrated throughout. Loosely tied together, the chapters create a cohesive whole. Rey is an appealing protagonist who will speak to early adolescents. Salda-a draws extended family together and binds one boy's growth into manhood with real emotion and believable events.

A Long Walk to Water By: Park, Linda Sue

Salva and Nya have difficult paths to walk in life. Salva's journey, based on a true story, begins in 1985 with an explosion. The boy's small village in Sudan erupts into chaos while the 11-year-old is in school, and the teacher tells the children to run away. Salva leaves his family and all that is familiar and begins to walk. Sometimes he walks alone and sometimes there are others. They are walking toward a refugee camp in Ethiopia, toward perceived safety. However, the camp provides only temporary shelter from the violent political storm. In 1991-'92, thousands are killed as they try to cross a crocodile-infested river when they are forced out of the country; Salva survives and gets 1200 boys to safety in Kenya. Nya's life in 2008 revolves around water. She spends eight hours a day walking to and from a pond. In the dry season, her family must uproot themselves and relocate to the dry lake bed where they dig in the mud until water eventually trickles out. Nya's narrative frames Salva's journey from Sudan to Ethiopia to Rochester, NY, and, eventually, back to Sudan. Both story lines are spare, offering only pertinent details. In the case of Salva, six years in a camp pass by with the barest of mentions. This minimalism streamlines the plot, providing a clarity that could have easily become mired in depressing particulars. The two narratives intersect in a quiet conclusion that is filled with hope.

No Summit Out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits By: Romero, Jordan

At the age of 15, Romero became the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits, the tallest mountain on each continent. He set this goal for himself at age nine, when he saw a mural on the wall of his elementary school and wondered what it would be like to stand on each of those peaks. Other parents might postpone such lofty aspirations, but Jordan's father and stepmother, extreme adventure racers who compete all over the world, encouraged him. Neighbors, friends, and corporations helped with sponsorships and fund-raisers, while Romero's parents trained and accompanied him. From their first climb, Mount Kilimanjaro, where he set the record as a 10-year-old, to Everest at a record-setting 13, each peak presented unique and more difficult challenges. LeBlanc has written about mountaineering and of Everest, but Romero's voice comes through, as he excitedly describes, in first-person narrative, his emotions, hardships, occasional doubts, and reactions to foreign countries and cultures. It takes a certain amount of self-confidence to attempt and to persevere in the face of such an overwhelming task, and it is obvious that Romero has the bravado to do what many critics told him he couldn't. He continues to inspire young people to lead healthier lives and to follow their dreams with his 50-state "Find Your Everest tour," speaking about the importance of spending time outdoors, as well as climbing the highest peak in each state.

Okay for Now By: Schmidt, Gary

Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck faces many challenges, including an abusive father, a brother traumatized by Vietnam, suspicious teachers and police officers, and isolation, but when he meets a girl known as Lil Spicer, he develops a close relationship with her and finds a safe place at the local library.

Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team that Changed a Town By: St. John, Warren

In this young adult adaptation of Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference (Spiegel & Grau, 2009), St. John presents the remarkable, inspiring story of a persevering female coach, a soccer team of refugee boys, and the Georgia town that is their home. With conviction and skill, Jordanian Luma Mufleh established and coached three soccer teams known as the Fugees. Her players were haunted by memories of war-torn homelands and personal tragedies and were struggling to adjust to life in the United States. However, her high expectations and willingness to help families impacted her young players. Despite challenges to locate a practice field, minimal funding for uniforms and equipment, and zero fans on the sidelines, the Fugees practiced hard and demonstrated a team spirit that drew admiration from referees and even their competitors. Featuring pivotal soccer games and anecdotes about interactions between a coach and her players, tension among the boys, family responsibilities, and a town wrestling with its changing identity, St. John delivers a vivid, cohesive story about hope and determination. Profiles are enriched with background information on the conflicts that drove the players from their homes in Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Respecting cultural differences, building a global community, and the importance of getting involved are powerful, motivating messages that will resonate with teen readers, not just soccer fans.

Tangerine By: Bloor, Edward

Twelve-year-old Paul, who lives in the shadow of his football hero brother Erik, fights for the right to play soccer despite his near blindness and slowly begins to remember the incident that damaged his eyesight.

The Truth about Forever By: Dessen, Sarah

Macy, 16, witnessed her father's death, but has never figured out how to mourn. Instead, she stays in control – good grades, perfect boyfriend, always neat and tidy – and tries to fake her way to normal. Then she gets a job at Wish Catering. It is run by pregnant, forgetful Delia and staffed by her nephews, Bert and Wes, and her neighbors Kristy and Monica. "Wish" was named for Delia's late sister, the boys' mother. Working and eventually hanging out with her new friends, Macy sees what it's like to live an unprescripted lifestyle, from dealing with kitchen fires to sneaking out at night, and slowly realizes it's not so bad to be human. Wes and Macy play an ongoing game of Truth and share everything from gross-outs to what it feels like to watch someone you love die. They fall in love by talking, and the author sculpts them to full dimension this way. All of Dessen's characters, from Macy, who narrates to the bone, to Kristy, who’s every word has life and attitude, to Monica, who says almost nothing but oozes nuance, are fully and beautifully drawn. Their dialogue is natural and believable, and their care for one another is palpable. The prose is fueled with humor – the descriptions of Macy's dad's home-shopping addiction are priceless, as is the goofy bedlam of catering gigs gone bad – and as many good comedians do, Dessen uses it to throw light onto darker subjects. Grief, fear, and love set the novel's pace, and Macy's crescendo from time-bomb perfection to fallible, emotional humanity is, for the right readers, as gripping as any action adventure.


For a downloadable, printable, version of our 2017 Summer Reading Lists, Click Here on the Grade Level List Below:

Sixth Grade

Seventh Grade

Eighth Grade



Incoming 6th Grade Summer 2017 Reading Program

Incoming Sixth Graders are to select two of the following titles to read over the summer and be prepared to discuss and speak to the books read in their English class:


The Bubble Wrap Boy

Earle, Phil

The Courage Test

Preller, James

Dark Water Rising

Hale, Marian

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans

Brown, Don

Every Soul a  Star

Mass, Wendy

Flash Fire

Cooney, Caroline

Lost in the Labyrinth

Kindl, Patrice


Hirschmann, Kris


Spinner, Stephanie

Wild Girl

Giff, Patricia Reilly


7th Grade

Summer 2017 Reading Program

Incoming Seventh Graders are to select two of the following titles to read over the summer and be prepared to discuss and speak to the books read in their English class:

The Blackhope Enigma

Flavin, Teresa

The Buddha’s Diamonds

Marsden, Carolyn

Ender’s Game

Card, Orson Scott

Full Cicada Moon

Hilton, Marilyn

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Barnhill, Kelly

The Girls

Koss, Amy Goldman

Knots in My Yo-Yo String

Spinelli, Jerry

The Land of Forgotten Girls

Entrada Kelly, Erin

Poison Is Not Polite

Stevens, Robin

What Came from the Stars

Schmidt, Gary

8th Grade

Summer 2017 Reading Program

Exploring Human Potential


Concept: In 8th grade, we will be focusing on our transformation from middle school students into high school students. These summer reading books have been selected to inspire students by allowing them to experience stories that explore human achievement. Students will be incorporating themes and ideas from their summer reading into their first quarter work in 8th grade English.

Assignment: The assignment has two parts:

  1. All students are expected to read No Summit Out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits, by Jordan Romero (with Linda LeBlanc).
  2. Additionally, all students will read one (or more) of the books from the following list:

After Tupac and D Foster

Woodson, Jacqueline


Brown, Skila


Reynolds, Jason

The Gospel According to Larry

Tashjian, Janet

The Jumping Tree

Saldana, Rene


A Long Walk to Water

Park, Linda Sue

Okay for Now

Schmidt, Gary

Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team that Changed a Town

St. John, Warren


Bloor, Edward

The Truth about Forever

Dessen, Sarah