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Topic: 7th & 8th Grade books that touched you

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Subject: 7th & 8th Grade books that touched you
Date Posted: 8/6/2011 12:36 AM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2010
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Hello Everyone!

I will be teaching 7th and 8th grade English for the first time this fall. I want to start a classroom library for my kids, and want them to have access to amazing meaningful books that are span through the different centuries. I personally can't remember too many 7th and 8th grade books I read, and am having a tough time putting this list together. I've got "Night" by Elie Wiesel, "So Far from the Bamboo Groove," "Roll of Thunder hear my cry," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Animal Farm," ....So the list is not extensive. I'm specially unaware of more modern books (21st century). So, in one word, Help!  

Date Posted: 8/7/2011 10:33 AM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
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I recently read a book called London Calling by Edward Bloor that I particularly liked.  Another interesting story is Dead on Town Line by Leslie Connor.  It's told in free verse poem style and is a fairly quick read, but the story sticks with you.  If you are required to teach a poetry component this book would do double duty for you and it won't make the boys groan and roll their eyes. LOL!  Then there are a couple of new series that are quite good.  James Dashner's trilogy The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure (out in October) is thought-provoking and will lead some of your avid readers to want to read the other two books.  I know I'm looking forward to the release of the final installment in October.  Alexander Gordon Smith's Lockdown: Escape From Furnace is the beginning of a series, possibly a trilogy but I'm not certain.  This a gritty story that will definitely appeal to the boys which can often be your most difficult audience at that age, but girls will like it, too. 

Just a thought on Night by Elie Weisel.  Make sure you do some assessment as to student knowledge of the subject before having them read this  They need to understand that this isn't just a story, that these events did happen.  Too much time has passed and I've been shocked and appalled at some of the statements Ive heard from students reading this for the first time.  You will have those who will read it like a Stephen King novel and it will not have the impact it should. 

Date Posted: 8/11/2011 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2005
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Books by Sharon Draper, Walter Dean Myers

Subject: 7th & 8th Grade books
Date Posted: 8/13/2011 9:06 AM ET
Member Since: 11/29/2010
Posts: 6
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Have you checked the recommended lists by YALSA, ALA, etc.?  In Florida, there are the annual Sunshine State Reader Awards for middle school that have good current titles.  Personally, the kids love the vampire (i.e. Twilight) stuff, but it certainly isn't classic.  I've been directing them towards Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde if they want genre.  For a classic, suggest adding the Sherlock Holmes (short stories make it easier for shorter attention spans) and the James Herriott novels (All Creatures Great & Small, etc.)  If you go with Scholastic books, you can earn a points toward a free library with middle school appropriate titles.  I spent 2 years in a middle school as librarian--good luck!


Date Posted: 10/25/2011 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2011
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I'm not sure if it's really "touching," per se, but it's definitely a wonderful book that made me think and I still read a lot.  It's about that reading level, too.

House of the Scorpion- Nancy Farmer.

Date Posted: 10/27/2011 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
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The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling. Lots of short stories and the boys will identify with Mowgli, the boy hero in many of them.  Also an excellent pre-World War II film with Sabu in the lead as Mowgli- still available as I have several copies.  This version most closely follows the book, while later versions are all over the place and you sometimes wonder if it is the same story.  My mother, an Australian, once met Sabu at a party during the war when he was on leave in Australia. He had changed his name and he was a tail gunner in a B-29.

The Dog Who Wouldn't Be  by Farley Mowat. A great tale of a Canadian boy in the 1930s and his most unusual dog.

Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer Detective - both by Mark Twain. Short novelettes that might encourage them to tackle Twain's longer books about Tom and Huck.  Sometimes you can find both in one volume - as is mine.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Once again, a wonderful story about a boy and his dogs.

The Prince and the Pauper - by Mark Twain - A wonderful tale of two boys (15th-16th century ? England) who look alike and agree to trade places for a few hours, which by happenstance then becomes weeks. Meanwhile, a kingdom lies in trouble.  Fortunately, a wandering man-at-arms makes friends with the real prince.  This is also a very good film with Errol Flynn.  Other versions take a lot of liberty with the book.


Last Edited on: 4/10/13 7:31 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/16/2011 1:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2008
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http://www.paperbackswap.com/Giver-Lois-Lowry/book/0440237688/ The Giver is of course obvious. 

I was very moved by ,http://www.paperbackswap.com/Summer-German-Soldier-Bette-Greene/book/014130636X/ The Summer of my German Soldier, as well. 


Date Posted: 11/20/2011 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
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ITA with The Giver, but I believe that one is often used at the high school level and not with 7th and 8th graders.

Date Posted: 11/25/2011 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2011
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Most of the classrooms that I have been in that used it were middle grades, not high school.

Subject: 7th and 8th grade
Date Posted: 11/26/2011 5:12 AM ET
Member Since: 11/20/2011
Posts: 1
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Hunger Games seem to be really popular right now.  Roll of Thunder, Hear me Cry and The Outsiders is still popular.  Also, Maniac Magee.


Date Posted: 11/28/2011 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2008
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Everything by Lois Lowry: http://www.loislowry.com/

Everything by Madeleine L'Engle

Date Posted: 11/28/2011 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2008
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This is a cool looking site:


Date Posted: 1/15/2012 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2012
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If you plan to read a book to your 7th and 8th graders...you need to read Among the Hidden. I read this almost every year and they absolutely love it and gets them reading the series of five books.  They often beg me to read the second book also. I teach English and the last 10 minutes of each day I read out loud to them....cant believe how much they enjoy it..I then incorporate writing and other activities around the book.

Date Posted: 1/16/2012 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,582
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The Shadow Children series is seven books, not five.  It's a fantastic series and I'm not surprised that your students want to continue reading after book one.  I couldn't wait for each new installment in the series and have recently completed my collection of it in hardback so I can leave the paperbacks in my classroom. Of course, I'm a huge Margaret Peterson Haddix fan, so I may be a little prejudiced. smiley

Last Edited on: 1/16/12 8:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/19/2012 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
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We read "The Giver" in 7th grade.  It touched me deeply.  It really made me start questioning the world around me.

Subject: Re: Books that touched me
Date Posted: 1/28/2012 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2012
Posts: 12
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Anything by Nancy Rue. She really gets young girls. She writes books they can relate to so easily. The Sophie series, the Lily seris and the Lucy series are all geared at this age group. She also has some high school ones. She's definitely the author that has touched me the most with her writings. I can't recommend her enough! Your girls will devour her books! Maybe Dairy of a Teenage Girl books by Melody Carlson. The characters are high school though.

For boys it's harder, I'd say check out Bryan Davis - the Dragons in our Midst series. Fantasy is so popular with them these days. Another good one is Chuck Black's Kingdom series - that's Biblical allegory so if you're in a public school you might not be allowed to have a book that's so clearly allegory. Hmmm... the Homelanders series was pretty good by Andrew Klaavan.

If you want to make them think get the Degrees of Guilt and Degrees of Betrayal series. They're a few years old, but they're powerful. Each is a 3 book series that looks at the same event from the perspective of 3 different characters.

~ J:-)mi, aka CTF Devourer


Date Posted: 1/31/2012 9:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
Posts: 186
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Oh, Girlfriend! I can give you lots of great suggestions. I've been teaching middle school reading for awhile now, and I'm obsessed with finding good books for my kids. Here are some absolute favorites (according to them, not me:)

The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas
The Giver
The Boy Who Dared
Eragon (the whole series)
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie
Al Capone Does My Shirts
The Cay
The Book of Story Beginnings
The Lightning Thief series
The Hunger Games (of course)
Tuck Everlasting
The Alex Rider books
The Lemony Snicket books (so many boys love these)

You mentioned you have Roll of Thunder, but the other books in that series are good too. My students love her novels.

And I agree with Denise. I do The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as a read aloud with my 7th graders and they LOVE it. Reading aloud is great for kids at all levels.

Date Posted: 2/7/2012 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 1,575
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Number the Stars

Spirit Bear


Both are probably a 6th grade level but would be good for this age group too.

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
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A series that really got my own kids reading about that age, was the Redwall series.  Hunger Games is big just now, as is the Eragon series (the 4th and final book was released recently).  Ender by Orson Scott Card made a big impression on my boys about this age...dunno about the series, but definately the first book.

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2010
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You have some great ones here.


I recently read this one and thought it would make a great book to discuss in school,

Date Posted: 3/10/2012 7:35 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2012
Posts: 17
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For discussion:  If you have Latino/as in your school read Trino's Choice and Trino's Time, Becoming Naomi Leon, Sparrowhawk Red, Crossing the Wire.  Also our 6th graders have read The Breadwinner a Fantastic read for current times.  The first book is by far the best, but some may want to read the entire trilogy    Also, I agree that the Giver is more a middle school book.

Historical fiction: Esperanza Rising, is the story of a rich Mexican girl who loses her fortune and has to come north during the 30s.  Deals with all the predjudice of the dust bowl era.  I have read The Pearl with my 8th graders, but it's pretty difficult--caveat: I teach English Language, so my kids are mostly poor readers.  Johnny Tremain for better readers.

During Greek/Roman history study, The Lightning Thief series and of course Hatchet is a classic.

Follow My Leader for those dog lovers tells the story of a boy who becomes blind and gets a guide dog.  Kind of date since it was written in the 50s, but still a good read.

Classics:  Hatchet and its sequels

I happen to adore teen lit, so pm me any time and I'll give you a lot more suggestions.  I'm currently reading (to preview) Ask me no questions.

Date Posted: 3/15/2012 2:29 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2011
Posts: 551
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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is the book I most remember from 6th and 7th grades, a very long time ago. 


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