Over the summer all students are required to read two novels, one from the summer reading list and one of their choice that is grade appropriate. It is requested that students select books that they have not read. Students should take notes on both of their novels, using the worksheet provided. At the start of the school year, students will be asked to bring in their notes to use as a guide for their first in-class assignment.
Entering 6th Grade
My Life With The Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall
Noted scientist and conservationist Goodall provides stories about her life and her experiences studying chimpanzees in Africa. She talks about her first exposure to animals at a farm near her home and how the book Dr. Dolittle helped crystallize her desire. She comments on her first trip to the continent and how meeting Dr. Louis Leakey led to her life’s work, living among the animals, learning their behaviors, and bringing that information to the rest of the world. Danna Bell-Russell, Library of Congress Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Elephant Run by Roland Smith
In 1941, bombs drop from the night skies of London, demolishing the apartment Nick Freestone lives in with his mother. Deciding the situation in England is too unstable, Nick’s mother sends him to live with his father in Burma, hoping he will be safer living on the family’s teak plantation. But as soon as Nick arrives, trouble erupts in the remote Burmese elephant village. Japanese soldiers invade, and Nick’s father is taken, prisoner. Nick is left stranded on the plantation, forced to work as a servant to the new rulers. Taken from Amazon.com
HOOT by Carl Hiassen
Roy Eberhardt is the new kid–again. This time around it’s Trace Middle School in humid Coconut Grove, Florida. But it’s still the same old routine: table by himself at lunch, no real friends, and thick-headed bullies like Dana Matherson pushing him around. But if it wasn’t for Dana Matherson mashing his face against the school bus window that one day, he might never have seen the tow-headed running boy. And if he had never seen the running boy, he might never have met tall, tough, bully-beating Beatrice. And if he had never met Beatrice, he might never have discovered the burrowing owls living in the lot on the corner of East Oriole Avenue. And if he had never discovered the owls, he probably would have missed out on the adventure of a lifetime. Apparently, bullies do serve a greater purpose in the scope of the universe. Because if it wasn’t for Dana Matherson. Taken from Amazon.com review.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
A classic novel about a teen boy who leaves New York City’s crowds and noise to live a solitary life in the Catskills is an unusual but inspiring story of wilderness survival. Though it’s difficult to imagine many parents encouraging their teenagers to leave home and live off the land, Sam displays impressive resourcefulness and self-confidence, making him an inspiring role model for boys in particular. His refreshing disregard for material things and the way he welcomes the hard work of subsisting in the wild are exemplary and eye-opening. From commonsensemedia.com
Eleven by Tom Rogers
Alex Douglas always wanted to be a hero. But nothing heroic ever happened to Alex. Nothing, that is, until his eleventh birthday. When Alex rescues a stray dog as a birthday gift to himself, he doesn’t think his life can get much better. Radar, his new dog, pretty much feels the same way. But this day has bigger things in store for both of them. This is a story about bullies and heroes. About tragedy and hope. About enemies with two legs and friends with four, and pesky little sisters and cranky old men, and an unexpected lesson in kindness delivered with a slice of pizza. This is “Eleven”: the journey of a boy turning eleven on 9/11. From goodreads.com
Entering 7th Grade
Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby
Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis is used to being left out of conversations. Though she’s been deaf since the age of six, Joey’s mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. She strains to read the lips of those around her and often fails. Everything changes when Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari. Her new friends use sign language to communicate, and Joey secretly begins to learn to sign. Spending time with Charlie and Sukari, Joey has never been happier. But as Joey’s world blooms with possibilities, Charlie’s and Sukari’s choices begin to narrow―until Sukari’s very survival is in doubt.
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.
But one day, Gerta spots her father. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing. What does it mean? No one can be trusted. From goodreads.com
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
A poignant novel in verse that mixes basketball, family, and coming-of-age themes and includes serious issues regarding adult health and a parent’s life-threatening condition. 12-year old Josh Bell and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle-grade novel of family and brotherhood. Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family. The novel offers a positive example of a loving, intact family with active, involved parents and uses adult characters to provide a guiding influence. From goodreads.com
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai
A memoir by Malala Yousafzai, co-written with Patricia McCormick. Malala was born in Pakistan in 1997 and became a household name in 2012 when she was shot at point-blank range by a member of the Taliban on her way home from school for advocating education for girls. Malala tells of being inspired at a young age to stand up for what was right, encouraged by her schoolteacher father; of the scary realities of life under the Taliban; and of squabbles with her brothers and tiffs with her friends as she becomes a symbol for the right of girls (and all kids) to get an education. It’s an inspiring first-person story of what one teen can accomplish — and what it costs her and her loved ones. From commonsensemedia.com
The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan
A fable-like biography of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda by Pam Munoz Ryan (Esperanza Rising). It tenderly reveals the soul of an artist, a soul that may not have survived without nurturing from a stepmother and an uncle who were both brave and self-sacrificing. Neftali finds beauty and wonder everywhere: in the oily colors of mud puddles; a lost glove, sailing on the wind; the music of birds and language. Against all odds, Neftali prevails against his father’s cruelty and his own crippling shyness to become one of the most widely read poets in the world, Pablo Neruda. This moving story about the birth of an artist is also a celebration of childhood, imagination, & the strength of the creative spirit. Sure to inspire young writers & artists.
Entering 8th Grade
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that “suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.” He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more–including Krakauer’s–in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer’s epic account of the May 1996 disaster. From goodreads.com
No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War by Anita Lobel
Anita Lobel was barely five when the war began and sixteen by the time she came to America from Sweden, where she had been sent to recover at the end of the war. This haunting book, illustrated with the author’s archival photographs, is the remarkable account of her life during those years. Poised, forthright, and always ready to embrace life, Anita Lobel is the main character in the most personal story she will ever tell. Anita Lobel was barely five years old when World War II began and the Nazis burst into her home in Krakow, Poland, changing her life forever. She spent the days of her childhood in hiding with her brother–who was disguised as a girl–and their Catholic nanny in the countryside, the ghetto, and finally in a convent where the Nazis caught up with her. She was imprisoned in a succession of concentration camps until the end of the war. Sent by the Red Cross to recuperate in Sweden, she slowly blossomed as she discovered books and language and art. Since coming to the United States as a teenager, Anita Lobel has spent her life making pictures. She has never gone back. She has never looked back. Until now. From goodreads.com
The Greatest: Muhammad Ali by Walter Dean Myers
An award-winning author presents a riveting account of the extraordinary career and accomplishments of boxer Muhammad Ali. This biography chronicles Ali’s impact on race relations inside and outside the sports world. From goodreads.com
Inventing Elliot by Graham Gardner
When fourteen-year-old Elliot Sutton arrives at Holminster High, he’s determined not to stand out. He simply can’t let himself become a target again—not like he was at his last school. This time, he’s a new Elliot. Tough. Impenetrable. But then he meets the Guardians, a group of upperclassmen that secretly rule Holminster with a quiet and anonymous terror. Obsessed with George Orwell’s book 1984, they desire power for the sake of power—and they always get what they want. Now, they want Elliot. Not to terrorize . . . but to join them. Can Elliot face his new future, or will he become his own worst nightmare? From goodreads.com
Quiver by Stephanie Spinner
It was Artemis, goddess of the hunt and mistress of the wild, who rescued the abandoned baby Atalanta, sending a she-bear to nurse her and a band of hunters to raise her in safety. Now sixteen, Atalanta, famous archer and swiftest mortal alive, has devoted her life to the goddess. When strangers appear in Atalanta’s village one day, they bring shattering news. The father who forsook her is a king. And he has summoned his daughter with a simple, chilling command: marry and produce an heir. Fleet-footed Atalanta, determined not to betray Artemis, counters with a grim proposal. She will marry the first man to outrun her in a footrace, and those she defeats must die. It is Atalanta’s desperate hope that no man will be foolish enough to meet her challenge. From goodreads.com