Summer Reading

Summertime gives us the opportunity to read for pleasure and discover new favorites to add to our collections. At Ridgefield Academy, we believe it is important that our students read over the summer to maintain or surpass the reading skills achieved during the previous school year.

Lower School students are asked to read and be read to as much as possible over the summer. There is a reading log form included in your child's summer packet to keep track of all the books. Please return that form in the fall. There are no required books but we are always full of suggestions! Check out Mrs. Heaslip and Ms. Buchan's suggestions here.

Before entering into Grades 4-8, RA students are required to read at least three (3) books over the course of the summer months. One book is a required reading book that has a brief corresponding assignment that the student should complete prior to the beginning of the new school year. The second book must be selected from the list of books for that grade level. The third book can be any book appropriate for the student and is of their free choosing. Please note, you should select the grade level that your child will be entering for the 2019-2020 school year. Parents and students can view the appropriate reading list below.

Summer Reading Lists 2019-2020

Entering Grade 4

Grade 4 Summer Reading is below. If you prefer, you can print the entire packet using the link below.



(Choose One Of The Following)
The One and Only Ivan Katherine Applegate
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better. This novel is based on a true story.
The Search for Delicious Natalie Babbitt
Gaylen, the King’s messenger, a skinny boy of twelve, is off to poll the kingdom, traveling from town to farmstead to town on his horse, Marrow. At first it is merely a question of disagreement at the royal castle over which food should stand for Delicious in the new dictionary. But soon it seems that the search for Delicious had better succeed if civil war is to be avoided. Gaylen’s quest leads him to the woldweller, a wise, 900-year-old creature who lives alone at the precise center of the forest; to Canto, the minstrel who sings him an old song about a mermaid child and who gives him a peculiar good-luck charm; to the underground domain of the dwarfs; and finally to Ardis who might save the kingdom from havoc.
Choose only one (1) of the novels above for your required reading book. Complete a Character Trait Graphic Organizer that identifies some of the character traits of Ivan OR Gaylen, the main characters. Refer to this list of Character Traits for reference. Please bring the graphic organizer to school the first week back to school.


You will also read at least 2 additional books as part of your summer reading. You should choose one of the books from the following list. For your second book, you are free to choose any other book, although you may choose a second book from this list.
At the end of this reading list, you will find a list of book report ideas. You will need to choose one idea and complete a book project for one of your summer reading books (not The One and Only Ivan or Search for Delicious). Your book project should be brought to school the first week back in September for presentations.


MVP Douglas Evans
Adam Story longs to see the world, but he never imagines he’ll get the chance. On his twelfth birthday, a mysterious stranger, Prince Oh, from the kingdom Babababab, challenges Adam to circle the globe in 40 days – no flying allowed. Outfitted with an excuse for his mother (summer camp), special technogadgets, and plenty of money, Adam embarks on the trip of a lifetime. Soon he finds out that things are more complicated than he imagined; he is part of a global game, racing against time and against 23 other kids, and dodging darts and some unsavory adults (dastardly Baron von Sheepsbottom) for a prize of $4 million.
The Book Scavenger Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles. But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold lef behind before Griswold's attackers make them their next target.
The Willoughbys Lois Lowry
The Willoughby family consists of bossy elder brother Tim, twins Barnaby A and Barnaby B, little sister Jane, and their parents, who are despicable. Mrs. Willoughby insists that the twins share one sweater, and Mr. Willoughby stops reading aloud “Hansel and Gretel” one evening because the mother in the story has given him an idea—abandon the children! The parents take a vacation and, while away, sell their house, leaving the children and nanny to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, the children plot how to become orphans, “like children in an old-fashioned book.” A glossary humorously defines possibly unfamiliar words (the new nanny: villainous, lugubrious, or odious?), and an annotated bibliography comments on 13 old-fashioned children’s books referenced within the story.
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat Lynne Jonell
Emmy Addison was perfectly happy as the daughter of bookstore owners—and then her parents inherited a lot of money and she suddenly became invisible. She can't understand why her formerly attentive and loving mother and father keep taking off for faraway places and leaving her in the hands of an incredibly controlling nanny named Miss Barmy. And no one at school seems to know she exists. Then, she is bitten by the classroom rat and discovers that she can understand every word he says, as can Joe, one of the cool kids in her class who was also bitten. At this point, events start to unfold and a fast-paced adventure begins. To Joe's chagrin, he discovers that a second bite makes a person shrink to the size of an action figure and Emmy discovers that Miss Barmy has been mixing animal essences together to control the Addisons' lives. With the aid of new animal friends, Emmy embarks upon a perilous path to undo the evil nanny's sinister plans.
The Detective’s Assistant Kate Hannigan
When orphaned eleven-year-old Nell Warne arrives in Chicago, she is shocked to find that her long-lost aunt is a detective working for the famous Pinkerton's National Detective agency! With nation-changing events simmering in the background as Abraham Lincoln heads for the White House, Aunt Kate is working on the biggest case of her life, and Nell quickly makes herself indispensable by cracking codes, wearing disguises, and spying on nefarious criminals. But can she also solve the case of what really happened on the night her best friend disappeared?
Masterpiece Elise Broach
Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays’ apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy. After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it, they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that could help recover a famous drawing by Albrecht Dürer. But James can’t go through with the plan without Marvin’s help. And that’s where things get really complicated (and interesting!).
Swindle Gordon Korman
Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is “the man with the plan.” If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family’s money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers to the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber “Pitch” takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino’s e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Chris Grabenstein
Kyle Keeley is the class clown and a huge fan of all games—board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the construction of the new town library. Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot as one of twelve kids invited for an overnight sleepover in the library, hosted by Mr. Lemoncello and riddled with lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must solve every clue and figure out every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route!
One Dog and His Boy Eva Ibbotson
All Hal had ever wanted was a dog. "Never!" cries his mother. "Think of the mess, the scratch-marks, the puddles on the floor." But on the morning of Hal's 10th birthday, the unbelievable happens. He's allowed to choose a dog at Easy Pets, a rent-a-pet agency (a fact his parents keep from him). The moment he sees the odd-looking terrier, he knows he's found a friend for life. But no one tells Hal that Fleck must be returned. When Hal wakes up on Monday morning, Fleck is gone. If dog and boy are to stay together they'll have to run away. From the renowned Eva Ibbotson comes her final novel, a tale laced with humor and brimming over with heart, stunning in its beauty of the love of all things dog.
Drizzle Kathleen Van Cleve
Eleven-year-old Polly Peabody knows her family's world-famous rhubarb farm is magical. The plants taste like chocolate, jewels appear in the soil, bugs talk to her, and her best friend is a rhubarb plant named Harry. But the most magical thing is that every single Monday, at exactly 1:00, it rains, until the Monday when the rain just stops. Now it's up to Polly to figure out why and whether her brother's mysterious illness and her glamorous aunt Edith's sudden desire to sell the farm have anything to do with it. Most of all, Polly has to make it start raining again before it's too late. Her brother's life, the plants survival, and her family's future all depend on it.
Fearless Elvira Woodruff
The harrowing adventure of a boy, a real-life famous daredevil, and a monster storm! When a storm brings down his father's boat, Digory Beale is forced to leave home to discover his fate. For if Digory has been orphaned, he can never go home again. On his journey, Digory becomes the apprentice to Henry Winstanley, a charming stranger whose life's obsession is to save sailors' lives. Digory must face his fears of the sea to help Henry bring candles to the amazing rock lighthouse Henry has built on a killer reef. But who could have known the force of the monster storm that was heading their way? In this poignant page-turner, Digory comes to understand the many facets of courage -- and what it means to be a true hero.
Wild Robot Peter Brown
Can a robot survive in the wilderness? When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is--but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island's unwelcoming animal inhabitants. As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home--until, one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her. From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide.
Snow Treasure Marie McSwigan
In the bleak winter of 1940, Nazi troops parachuted into Peter Lundstrom's tiny Norwegian village and held it captive. Nobody thought the Nazis could be defeated--until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children could fool the enemy. It was a dangerous plan. They had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds. It meant risking their country's treasure--and their lives. This classic story of how a group of children outwitted the Nazis and sent the treasure to America has captivated generations of readers.


The Who Was? Series
With over 70 titles and more each year, Penguin's Who Was? and What Was? series makes learning history fun! Each book offers a detailed account of an important historical event or famous figure's life. From artists to astronauts, Who Was? and What Was? cover them all!
Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made Bill Slavin
This lively presentation looks at how 69 familiar items are made. Fun and Games includes baseballs, guitars, teddy bears, CDs, and marbles; Around the House includes books, dental floss, erasers, toothpaste, and wire; and Soup to Nuts covers bread, ice cream, peanut butter, and yogurt. The last section describes the raw materials used in the manufacturing processes, including aluminum, glass, paper, petroleum, and rubber. Historical information is included, such as the fact that the earliest form of football was played with a pig's bladder in Virginia in 1609.
Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself Maxine Anderson
This book begins with an introduction to the Renaissance and a biography of Leonardo da Vinci, including excerpts from his notebooks and reproductions of his drawings. But the main attraction of this text is the inclusion of step-by-step instructions for making 19 of da Vinci's inventions, including a perspectograph, camera obscura, hydrometer, invisible ink, walk-on-water shoes and miniature versions of his helicopter and tank. Adult supervision is recommended, where appropriate. Hands-on kids will love this book.
Ken Jennings Junior Genius Guides series
Become an expert on maps and geography, Greek mythology, and U.S. presidents with Ken Jennings’ popular children’s series! Wow your friends and teachers with all sorts of clever facts: Did you know that the biggest desert in the world is actually covered in snow? Well, how about the story of Prometheus and how he outsmarted the gods? Or that Thomas Jefferson introduced the first French fries at a fancy state dinner? With great illustrations, cool trivia, and fun quizzes to test your knowledge, these guides will have you on your way to whiz-kid status in no time!
The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming Laurie David and Cambria Gordon
This Down-to Earth to Global Warming makes a concept as complicated as global warming easy to understand. With the first half devoted to the science behind climate change, it’s still relevant and enjoyable for kids. Visuals abound and the book concludes with some significant ways for kids to make a difference. This guide will educate and empower young readers, leaving them with the knowledge they need to understand this problem and a sense of hope to inspire them into action.
Lemonade Bob Raczka, Nancy Doniger (Illustrator)
Play with your words! A brand-new poetic form that turns word puzzles into poetry. Part anagram, part rebus, part riddle—these poems capture a scene from a child’s daily life and present a puzzle to solve. Sometimes sweet and sometimes funny but always clever, these poems are fun to read and even more fun for kids to write. Bob Raczka is a fresh, new voice in children’s poetry who knows that fun and games can turn a poetry lesson into lemonade!

Summer Book Project Ideas

  • Create a map of the setting of your book. Be sure to include all of the important places. Use color and any other materials you’d like.
  • Create a movie poster for your book. Imagine that your book is being made into a movie. Use color and pictures to bring your poster to life! Don’t forget about the main/important characters.
  • Write the next chapter in your book. If your book were to continue, what would happen in the next chapter?
  • Write a new scene for your book. Perhaps there was a scene the author didn’t describe or skipped altogether. Write what you think the author would have or should have written.
  • Create a timeline. Create a timeline for the events in the book you read. Be sure to create the appropriate time intervals (could be years, weeks, days, or even hours!). Label and describe each entry on your timeline.
  • Make a list of 10 things you learned. Works well for non-fiction texts.
  • Create a 3-D representation of a story critical character or thing. Maybe your main character had a dog or fought a dragon or lived with ghosts. Use paper mache, clay, model magic, or any other material to recreate this character or thing. Be sure to paint/color and add details.
  • Create a photo album. Put together an album using drawings, pictures from magazines, images from the web, etc., to create a photo album representing the people, places, and events from your book. Write a caption to go with each picture.
  • Create a comic strip of a scene from your book. Include at least 6 cells in your comic strip sequence. Be sure to label with name of book, chapter, and scene. Add color and dialogue.
  • Create a new book jacket. Make a new book jacket/cover for your book different from the one the book already has. Don’t forget to include the title, author’s name, and book jacket designer’s name (you!). Use color and detail.
  • Write a book review. Write what you thought of the book. Include what you liked/loved, as well as what you didn’t. Make recommendations to the author and those who might want to read the book.
  • Create the costumes for the characters. If your book were to become a movie, what would the characters wear? Makes sketches, using color and other materials, of 3-5 costumes. Don’t forget the accessories!
  • Create a list of new vocabulary words along with meanings. Your list should include at least 20 words. Feel free to include pictures.
  • Write about how to do something. Great book report for non-fiction texts. Explain, or better yet, show with pictures and captions how to do something that you learned in the book you read.
  • Keep a journal. Keep a reader’s response journal while you’re reading. Update the journal each time you read. Journal about how you feel about what you’ve read and the characters, predict what will happen, make connections to yourself and/or your life, etc. Add drawings and pictures to enhance your journal.
  • Write a poem. Your poem should be 8-10 lines. Include an illustration to accompany your poem.

Don’t forget to put your name and the name of your book/author on your project. And . . . HAVE FUN!

Entering Grade 5

Grade 5 Summer Reading is below. If you prefer, you can print the entire packet using the link below.


Welcome to Grade 5! Below you will find out a little bit about our year and a lot about our summer read, Pax by Sara Pennypacker.

Our theme for fifth grade this year is “Journey.” Throughout the course of the year we will talk about what qualifies as a “journey.” We will read some classic journey literature, but we will also ask the questions, can one have a journey if he/she doesn’t go anywhere? Does a journey need to be physical? As fifth graders, we will examine our own journeys but ultimately look at different examples from literature of what it means to be “on a journey” whether that is intellectual, emotional, or physical.
For the required read, please enjoy Pax by Sara Pennypacker. Set during war time, Pennypacker’s novel is a beautifully wrought story about the journey of a young boy who is desperate to reconnect with his pet fox. Additionally, you will also need to complete the writing assignment in conjunction with this book. (More details below).
Upon our return from summer vacation, we will discuss Pax and take a closer look at the journey that both the boy, Peter, and his fox make throughout the novel. I look forward to discussing these books with you in the fall. If you have any questions over the summer, please do not hesitate to contact me via email.
Happy reading!


Pax Sara Pennypacker
Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and he sneaks into the night. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax, this is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds.
Summer Writing Assignment: Change and character transformation are a type of journey--which character do you think changes the most from the beginning of the novel to the end of the novel? Why? When you answer this question, think about what causes these characters to change.
Your response needs to be typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman, and 12-point font. Please keep your responses between a page and a page and a half.


You will also read two (2) additional books as part of your summer reading. You should choose one of the books from the following list. For your second book, you are free to choose any other book, although you may choose another book from the list below.


The Mysterious Benedict Society Trenton Stewart
Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are all graduates of the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and members of the Benedict Society. They embark on a scavenger hunt that turns into a desperate search for their missing benefactor, Mr. Benedict. To accomplish the challenge they will have to go undercover at the L.I.V.E. where the only rule is that there are no rules. As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?
Ruby Holler Sharon Creech
Dallas and Florida have been dubbed the "trouble twins." They have been shuffled between foster families and orphanages all their lives, longing only for a loving place to call home, though mistrustful that one exists for the likes of them. Tiller and Sairy are an eccentric older couple whose children are grown and long gone, and they're each restless for one more big adventure while their bodies are still spry enough to paddle a river or climb a mountain. Ruby Holler is the beautiful, mysterious place that changes all their lives forever. When Tiller and Sairy invite Dallas and Florida to stay with them and keep them company on their adventures, the magic of the Holler takes over, and the two kids begin to think that maybe, just maybe, these “old folks” aren't so bad.
Maniac McGee Jerry Spinelli
Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn't made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run--and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.
Thank You Jackie Robinson Barbara Cohen
After Sam's father died, he became so wrapped up in the Brooklyn Dodgers that he could describe every game they'd played in the past four years. Nobody was very interested, until Sam met Davy. They came from different races, religions, and generations. But it didn't take long before they had a friendship that went well beyond baseball.
The War that Saved My Life Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him. So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother? This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity—a classic in the making.
A Snicker of Magic Natalie Lloyd Gulch
Tennessee used to be a magical place, but that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity Pickles knows all about things like that since her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart. But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere — shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog's floppy ears — but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah the Beedle, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.
Fish in a Tree Lynda Mullaly Hunt
The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who's ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn't fit in. "Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid." Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there's a lot more to her, and to everyone, than a label, and that great minds don't always think alike.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond Richard Peck
Orphaned Kit Tyler knows, as she gazes for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home will never be like the shimmering Caribbean island she left behind. In her relatives' stern Puritan community, she feels like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world, a bird that is now caged and lonely. The only place where Kit feels completely free is in the meadows, where she enjoys the company of the old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, and on occasion, her young sailor friend Nat. But when Kit's friendship with the "witch" is discovered, Kit is faced with suspicion, fear, and anger. She herself is accused of witchcraft!
Hatchet Gary Paulsen
Brian Robeson, the sole passenger in a single-engine plane, is on his way to visit his father in the Canadian oil fields when his pilot suffers a heart attack. Alone and desperate, Brian guides the plane to a landing on an isolated lake. He spends the next fifty-four days struggling to survive.
The BFG Roald Dhal
Captured by a giant! The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It's lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants-rather than the BFG-she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off in England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!
Bud, Not Buddy Christopher Paul Curtis
It is 1926 in Flint, Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, But Bud’s got a few things going for him. He has his own suitcase full of special things. He’s the other of his own book. His father never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: flyers advertising Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!! Bud’s got an idea that those flyers can lead him to his father.
A Tangle of Knots Lisa Graf
Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady's past and how she became an orphan. If she's lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.
Wonder R.J Palacio
August Pullman is not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. Sure, he's a huge Star Wars fan, he loves his dog, and he's got a pretty good sense of humor. But August was born with a craniofacial abnormality, a genetic defect that caused his facial features to be severely deformed. His life has never been "normal." Despite his differences, August and his parents decide to transition him from homeschool to private school now that he's entering fifth grade. Will he make friends? Will he decide to stay at the school? And can the people around him learn to see past his appearance? This brilliant, sensitive story, narrated not only by August, but also by his older sister, his classmates, and other kids in his life, takes an insightful look at how one person's differences can affect the lives of so many others.
Holes Louis Sachar
Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption. Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten- pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.


City of Orphans AVI
The streets of 1893 New York are crowded and filthy. For thirteen-year-old newsboy Maks Geless, they are also dangerous. Bruno, leader of the awful Plug Ugly Gang, has set his sights on Maks and orders his boys to track him down. Suddenly Maks finds himself on the run, doing all he can to evade the gang, with only his new friend Willa by his side.
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story Nora Raleigh Baskin
Nine, Ten is a touching look at the days leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers. Four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Nadira has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the headscarf she wears. Amy is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business. These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined.
Home of the Brave Katherine Applegate
Katherine Applegate, author of The One and Only Ivan, presents a beautifully wrought novel about an immigrant's journey from hardship to hope. Kek comes from Africa. In America he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He's never walked on ice, and he falls. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter – cold and unkind. In Africa, Kek lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived, and now she's missing. Kek is on his own. Slowly, he makes friends: a girl who is in foster care; an old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means "family" in Kek's native language. As Kek awaits word of his mother's fate, he weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.
Jefferson’s Sons Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The untold story of Thomas Jefferson's slave children Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston are Thomas Jefferson's children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, and while they do get special treatment--better work, better shoes, even violin lessons--they are still slaves, and are never to mention who their father is. The lighter-skinned children have been promised a chance to escape into white society, but what does this mean for the children who look more like their mother?
Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington's Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Kathleen Van Cleve (Young Readers Edition)
In this incredible narrative, Erica Armstrong Dunbar reveals a fascinating and heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons’ when they were the First Family—and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation’s Founding Fathers. Born into a life of slavery, Ona Judge eventually grew up to be George and Martha Washington’s “favored” dower slave. When she was told that she was going to be given as a wedding gift to Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Ona made the bold and brave decision to flee to the north, where she would be a fugitive. From her childhood, to her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, to her escape to New Hampshire, Erica Armstrong Dunbar (along with Kathleen Van Cleve), shares an intimate glimpse into the life of a little-known, but powerful figure in history, and her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country.
Buried Alive Elaine Scott
In August 2010, thirty-three miners were buried alive, two thousand feet below the surface of the earth. After seventeen tense days, just as hope was nearly gone, rescuers made contact with the men. Joy broke out around the world—all thirty-three men were alive! But it would be long weeks before they emerged from the mine. What did the miners feel, trapped in the steamy darkness so far underground? What did they eat? How did they get along? And most important, how did they survive in those seventeen days when death lingered so near, and after, during the long wait for rescue?
Gorilla Doctors Pamela S. Turner
Turner introduces the work of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) as a group of scientists attempt to save endangered animals in Rwanda and Uganda. The readable text records their efforts to treat the great apes in the field as they encounter poachers, meet with loss of habitat, and face their newest threat: human diseases that can cross species lines. The author follows the team as its members go about their demanding work, foster an orphaned baby gorilla, and visit local schools and villages to explain the creatures' endangered status, and to promote positive reactions to their needs. Striking, full-color photographs to reflect the author’s work accompany the book.

Entering Grade 6

Grade 6 Summer Reading is below. If you prefer, you can print the entire packet using the link below.



Because of Mr. Terupt Rob Buyea
Mr. Terupt’s fifth grade class loves their new teacher because he makes learning fun. Instead of ordinary assignments, he gives them the power to choose tasks and learn to solve problems. The story is told from the points of view of seven students over the course of the school year. Peter is the trickster who loves to test the limits at all times. Jessica is the new girl who has trouble fitting in with the others. Luke loves school and is brilliant at math. Alexia enjoys causing trouble for other students. Shy Danielle has a controlling mother and grandmother. Anna’s home life makes her a social outcast. Jeffery simply hates school. A tragic accident brings the seven narrators together in support of their teacher. They all learn valuable lessons in this entertaining yet thought provoking novel that addresses serious issues and accepting responsibility for one’s actions.

Writing Assignment: Over the course of Buyea’s book, each of Mr. Terupt’s students changes considerably. In a double spaced paper, trace the growth of one student as he or she changes and learns important life lessons. Be sure to refer to examples from the text for support. However, do not include page numbers for this assignment. Your typed response, using a size 12 font, should be one to one and a half pages in length.

Additional Reading

You will also read two (2) additional books as part of your summer reading. You should choose one of the books from the following list. For your second book, you are free to choose any other book, although you may choose another book from the list below. There are links at the end of this list that may help as well.


Trash Andy Mulligan
In an unnamed undeveloped country, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city. One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.

The Lions of Little Rock Kristin Levine
Quiet and withdrawn, twelve-year-old Marlee doesn’t have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is everything Marlee isn’t. She always seems to know the right thing to say, especially to the most popular girl at school who has bossed Marlee around in the past. Liz even helps Marlee to overcome her greatest fear – speaking, which Marlee never does outside of her family circle. Then suddenly, Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a black girl passing as white. Marlee decides that doesn’t matter and wants Liz as a friend no matter the color of her skin. This is a powerful story of friendship and determination set in Little Rock, Arkansas during 1958.

Scorpio Races Maggie Stiefvater
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Peak Roland Smith
When Peak Marcello is caught climbing the side of a New York City skyscraper, the judge is determined to throw the book at him. His mother, stepfather, and father devise a plan that will keep him out of jail and away from the press. He is to leave the United States with his father, a famous mountain climber. Peak thinks he is on his way to Thailand and is thrilled when his father takes him to climb Mount Everest. Peak is hoping to bond with the father he hardly knows. However, it is not long before he learns the real reason his father has brought him there. He wants his son to have the distinction of being the youngest climber to reach the peak of Mount Everest. The story is full of action, mystery, and suspense. The harshness of climbing Mount Everest offers Peak lessons on life and death and helps him to grasp the true importance of family and friends.

The Grimm Legacy Polly Shulman
Elizabeth has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository - a lending library of objects, contemporary and historical, common and obscure. And secret, too - for in the repository's basement lies the Grimm Collection, a room of magical items straight from the Grimm Brother's fairy tales. But the magic mirrors and seven-league boots and other items are starting to disappear. And before she knows it, she and her fellow pages - handsome Marc, perfect Anjali, and brooding Aaron - are suddenly caught up in an exciting, and dangerous, magical adventure.

Everlost Neal Shusterman
Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident, but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to go either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost kids run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth. In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin
Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom — from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Brangwain’s host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them — and war for their nations. Witty mixed media illustrations show Brangwain’s furtive missives back to the elf kingdom, while Werfel’s determinedly unbiased narrative tells an entirely different story. A hilarious and biting social commentary, this tale is rife with thrilling action and visual humor...and a comic disparity that suggests the ultimate victor in a war is perhaps not who won the battles, but who gets to write the history.

First Test Tamora Pierce
Ten years after knighthood training was opened to both males and females, no girl has been brave enough to try. But knighthood is Keladry's one true desire, so she steps forward to put herself to the test. Up against the traditional hazing of pages and a grueling schedule, Kel faces one roadblock that seems insurmountable: Lord Wyldon, the training master. He is absolutely against girls becoming knights. So while he is forced to train her, Wyldon puts her on a probationary trial period that no male page has ever had to endure. But Kel is determined to try, and she's making friends in the most unlikely places. One thing is for sure; Kel is not a girl to underestimate.

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth Frank Cottrell
Boyce Prez Mellows lives with his increasingly forgetful grandfather until an incident that results in Granddad being sent away to be “sorted out.” Prez, electively mute, is taken in by the Blythes, a raucous farm family on Scotland’s southern border. Boyce’s story is kick-started by the arrival of Sputnik, a being visible to Prez as a “wee alien in a kilt and goggles,” and to everyone else as an adorable and exceedingly clever dog. Sputnik’s mission is to save Earth from impending doom by finding 10 worthy things about the planet to update a guidebook, originally written by Laika, the Russian space dog. His advanced knowledge of scientific principles combines with a penchant for mischief to produce an avalanche of kooky mayhem (working lightsabers are involved). It’s a funny and touching story about a boy who, through a transformative summer, learns to expand his definitions of family and home.

A Face Like Glass Frances Hardinge
In the underground city of Caverna, the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare: wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, except for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear at a steep price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. Neverfell's expressions are as varied and dynamic as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, except hers are entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed.

Space Case Stuart Gibbs
It’s 2041, and 12-year-old Dash Gibson lives with his family on Moon Base Alpha, the first lunar outpost. Life is mostly dull (watching TV, going to the gym to keep fit, and playing video games) until Ronald Holtz, the beloved base physician, dies under suspicious circumstances. Despite warnings from the base’s commander, Dash continues to investigate the incident as a possible murder. Gibb’s passion for science is obvious, and his portrayal of what life might be like for a middle schooler in space is credible and insightful. The difficulty of learning to run in reduced gravity, the dreary food, and recycled water (urine is purified and returned to the reservoir) all are treated evenhandedly with reference to relevant science. The prospect of contact with a distant race of super-intelligent beings provides an intriguing “what if” element.

The Crossover Kwame Alexander
The Bell twins are stars on the basketball court and comrades in life. While there are some differences—Josh shaves his head and Jordan loves his locks—both twins adhere to the Bell basketball rules: In this game of life, your family is the court, and the ball is your heart. With a former professional basketball player dad and an assistant principal mom, there is an intensely strong home front supporting sports and education in equal measures. When life intervenes in the form of a hot new girl, the balance shifts and growing apart proves painful. An accomplished author and poet, Alexander eloquently mashes up concrete poetry, hip-hop, a love of jazz, and a thriving family bond. The effect is poetry in motion. Consider also: Rebound and/or Booked in The Crossover Series

One Crazy Summer Rita Williams-Garcia
Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.


Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America Sharon Robinson
The daughter of the man who integrated Major League Baseball has given America a beautiful gift in the form of an annotated scrapbook. This book has many surprises and impressive details about the man who was a champion on and off the field.

Motor Girls Sue Macy
Come along for a joy ride in this enthralling tribute to the daring women - Motor Girls, as they were called at the turn of the century - who got behind the wheel of the first cars and paved the way for change. The automobile has always symbolized freedom, and in this book readers meet the first generation of female motorists who drove cars for fun, profit, and to make a statement about the evolving role of women. From the advent of the auto in the 1890s to the 1920s when the breaking down of barriers for women was in full swing, readers will be delighted to see historical photos, art, and artifacts and to discover the many ways these progressive females influenced fashion, the economy, politics, and the world around them.

Bound by Ice Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
In the years following the Civil War, "Arctic fever" gripped the American public, fueled by myths of a fertile, tropical sea at the top of the world. Several explorers attempted to find a route to the North Pole, but none succeeded. Bound by Ice follows the journey of George Washington De Long and the crew of the USS Jeannette, who departed San Francisco in the summer of 1879 hoping to find a route to the North Pole. However, in mid-September the ship became locked in ice north of Siberia and drifted for nearly two years before it was crushed by ice and sank. De Long and his men escaped the ship and began a treacherous journey in extreme polar conditions. A riveting true-life adventure, Bound by Ice includes excerpts from De Long’s extensive journals and from newspapers of the time, as well as photos and sketches by the men on the expedition

Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food Eric Schlosser
Aimed to arm them with the facts they should--but probably don't—know about the fast food industry of which they are such an integral part, this book speaks to kids. There are no lectures here about why they shouldn't be ordering extra value meals or considering French fries as a food group. Schlosser and Wilson provide information in an engaging way, a way in which the readers can't help but critically think about the choices they make on a regular basis when it comes to fast food.

High Exposure David Brashears
David Brashears has climbed Mt. Everest four times and for this, he is recognized as a world-class mountaineer. A talented writer, Brashears biography reads like an exciting and suspenseful novel.

Please read one (1) book of your own choosing. The sites below include possibilities if you are looking for ideas.

Entering Grade 7

Grade 7 Summer Reading is below. If you prefer, you can print the entire packet using the link below.



Forge Laurie Halse Anderson
Isabel rescues her friend Curzon from Bridewell Prison and rows away from Manhattan in their escape from slavery. Isabel goes her own way, and 15-year-old Curzon, passing as free, joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78. Against the most desperate of circumstances, he forges a friendship with fellow soldiers. When he is enslaved again and meets up with Isabel, he and she must once again take liberty into their own hands and find a way to escape. Weaving a huge amount of historical detail seamlessly into the story, Anderson creates a vivid setting, believable characters, both good and despicable, and a clear portrayal of the moral ambiguity associated with the Revolutionary War.

Please note: We will be working with this text in class. You will need to purchase a copy of the book and annotate while reading.

Writing Assignment:
Analyze the character of Curzon, Isabel, Eben, Bellingham, or Burns. Be sure to include a thesis statement in your writing and to use specific examples from the text for support. Parenthetical citations are required. Your double-spaced typed response in a size 12 font should be one and a half to two pages in length.

additional READING

You will also read two (2) additional books as part of your summer reading. You should choose one of the books from the following list. For your second book, you are free to choose any other book, although you may choose a second book from this list. There are links at the end of this list that may help as well. There are some links at the end of the list that may help as well.


Okay For Now Gary D. Schmidt
Doug Swieteck struggles to be more than the "skinny thug" that some people think him to be. He finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer, who gives him the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.

The Running Dream Wendelin Van Draanen
Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run? As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs
A family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. Also consider reading Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children and/or Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children.

The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit that enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

Mindblind Jennifer Roy
Fourteen-year-old Nathaniel is a genius. Or so he's been told. He could read at age three, has a memory like a computer, has already graduated from high school and college, and is ready to enter graduate school. However, Nathaniel has Asperger’s Syndrome and has problems interacting with others socially, even with his good friends Jessa and Cooper. At most times, Nathaniel would rather stay in his own world and not have to worry about anyone or anything except himself.

Nevertheless, Nathaniel has to learn how to make it in reality. Nathaniel once read a book stating that a true genius will make a contribution to the whole world, and he struggles to find a way to make a real difference. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
Everyone has bad mornings. You wake up late, you stub your toe, you burn the toast...but for a man named Arthur Dent, this goes far beyond a bad day. When he learns that a friend of his is actually an alien with advanced knowledge of Earth's impending destruction, he is transported off the Earth seconds before it is exploded to make way for a new hyperspace motorway.

And as if that's not enough, throw in being wanted by the police, Earth II, an insane electronic encyclopedia, no tea whatsoever, a chronically depressed robot and the search for the meaning of life, and you've got the greatest adventure off Earth.

When We Wake Karen Healey
Tegan is just 16 when she dies - well, sort of. After being shot at a protest in Sydney in 2027, she awakens in the future in a government facility where she's been preserved and frozen for 100 years. Being the first successfully revived human in Australia means that Tegan is an instant celebrity in a world that is much different from the one that she knows. As she struggles to build a life for herself with some sense of normalcy, she learns that not all citizens are excited about the scientific advancement that brought her back to life, and that the government that saved her might not have the best intentions.

Guitar Notes Mary Amato
On odd days, Tripp Broody uses a school practice room to let loose on a borrowed guitar. Eyes closed, strumming that beat-up instrument, Tripp escapes to a world where only the music matters. On even days, Lyla Marks uses the same practice room. To Tripp, she’s trying to become even more perfect—she’s already a straight-A student and an award-winning cellist. But when Lyla begins leaving notes for him in between the strings of the guitar, his life intersects with hers in a way he never expected. What starts as a series of snippy notes quickly blossoms into the sharing of interests and secrets and dreams, and the forging of a very unlikely friendship.

Code Name Verity Elizabeth Wein
Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends.

But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in Verity's own words, as she writes her account for her captors.

The Book Thief Markus Zusak
It is 1939 in Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still, particularly as he narrates the story of Liesel Meminger. She is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

Midnight at the Electric Jody Lynn Anderson
Jodi Lynn Anderson's epic tale—told through three unforgettable points of view—is a masterful exploration of how love, determination, and hope can change a person's fate. Though a portion of this book is set in the near future, it's more a work of historical fiction as it focuses a great deal on England just after WWI, and Kansas during the Dust Bowl.

2065: Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars, but weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house more than a hundred years ago and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate.

1934: Amid the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine’s family’s situation is growing dire. She must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

1919: In the recovery following World War I, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail from England to America. But can she make it that far?

While their stories span thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined in ways both heartbreaking and hopeful. In haunting, lyrical prose, human connections spark spellbindingly to life, and a bright light shines on the small but crucial moments that determine one’s fate.

Solo Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Ness
Blade never asked for a life of the rich and famous. In fact, he’d give anything not to be the son of Rutherford Morrison, a washed-up rock star with delusions of a comeback. Or to no longer be part of a family known most for lost potential, failure, and tragedy, including the loss of his mother. The one true light is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship, assuming Blade will become just like his father. In addition, consider Swing, also by Alexander and Hess.

Bruiser Neal Shusterman
Tennyson is not surprised, really, when his family begins to fall apart, or when his twin sister, Brontë, starts dating the misunderstood bully, Brewster (or The Bruiser, as the entire high school calls him). Tennyson is determined to get to the bottom of The Bruiser's reputation, even if it means gearing up for a fight. Brontë, on the other hand, thinks there's something special underneath that tough exterior. And she's right…but neither she nor Tennyson is prepared for the truth of what lies below the surface.


Vincent and Theo; The Van Gogh Brothers Deborah Heiligman
The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers' lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend―Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, Deborah Heiligman weaves a tale of two lives intertwined and the extraordinary love of the Van Gogh brothers.

Food Justice Robert Gottlieb
From seed to supermarket, every facet of food production is a potential target for abuse and exploitation. Meticulously chronicling the genesis of the deteriorating state of food production, distribution, and consumption, Gottlieb and Joshi also highlight inspiring and innovative success stories at both grassroots and high-profile levels. Unfortunately injustices in the way food is produced and consumed won't go away over night. But if, as Food Justice advocates, we work together and focus on community-based initiatives, then we are on the right track.

Isaac the Alchemist Mary Losure
A Surprising true story of Isaac Newton’s boyhood suggests an intellectual development owing as much to magic as science. Before Isaac Newton became the father of physics, an accomplished mathematician, or a leader of the scientific revolution, he was a boy living in an apothecary’s house, observing and experimenting, recording his observations of the world in a tiny notebook.

As a young genius living in a time before science as we know it existed, Isaac studied the few books he could get his hands on, built handmade machines, and experimented with alchemy—a process of chemical reactions that seemed, at the time, to be magical. Mary Losure’s riveting narrative nonfiction account of Isaac’s early life traces his development as a thinker and includes source notes, a bibliography, and an index.

I Am Malala Malala Yousafzai
This book offers a glimpse into the lives of an extraordinary Pakistani teenager and her family and the difficulties of living in a country that is in the clutches of extremists. Malala’s actions demonstrate what can happen when one voice speaks up to inspire change in our world.

Far From the Tree: Young Adult Edition Calkhoven and Solomon
A stunning, poignant, and affecting young adult edition of Solomon’s award-winning masterpiece, Far From the Tree, which explores the impact of extreme differences between parents and children.

The old adage says that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, meaning that children usually resemble their parents. But what happens when the apples fall somewhere else—sometimes a couple of orchards away, sometimes on the other side of the world?

Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration
Hope is a decision, but it is a hard one to recognize in the face of oppression, belittlement, alienation, and defeat. To help embolden hope, here is a powerhouse collection of essays and personal stories that speak directly to teens and all YA readers. Featuring Angie Thomas, Marie Lu, Nicola Yoon, David Levithan, Libba Bray, Jason Reynolds, Renée Ahdieh, and many more!

Please read one (1) book of your own choosing. If you are looking for ideas, the sites below include many possibilities.

Entering Grade 8

Grade 8 Summer Reading is below. If you prefer, you can print the entire packet using the link below.



Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
One of the themes found in Of Mice and Men is the ability to overcome trials and hardships by believing in a better future. Almost all of the characters in Steinbeck’s novels face difficult times but are ultimately sustained by an individual or collective dream. While reading Of Mice and Men, please highlight and annotate for this theme. Pay close attention to character development and perhaps what joins each of these characters. I look forward to discussing this book in the fall! Of Mice and Men will lend itself to our first five-paragraph essay once the school year begins.

Please purchase the following edition so that our pagination is all the same. Purchase Of Mice and Men here.

Writing Assignment:
Please choose one of the following characters: (George, Lennie, Curley’s wife, or Crooks). In a page response, explain what trials that character faces and how that character is able to endure difficult times. Make sure your paragraph is built around three examples and that you use two quotes from the book to support your argument. Your response should be typed, double-spaced, font 12, Times New Roman.


You will also read two (2) additional books as part of your summer reading. You should choose one of the books from the following list. For your second book, you are free to choose any other book, although you may choose another book from the list below.


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Betty Smith
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant literary classic that tells the story of Francie Nolan as she grows up in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, from 1902 to 1919. The novel is filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. The daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness.

House on Mango Street Sandra Cisneros (Memoir)
Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero. Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous–it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

Inside Out and Back Again Thanhha Lai (Historical Fiction)
For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food...and the strength of her very own family.

The Secret Life of Bee Sue Monk Kidd
When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's most vicious racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love—a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

When I was Puerto Rican Esmeralda Santiago (Historical Fiction)
Growing up in rural Puerto Rico, Esmeralda learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby's soul to heaven. When her mother takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a new identity. Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn, translating for her mother at the welfare office, to high honors at Harvard.

A Separate Peace John Knowles
Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.


Into Thin Air John Krakauer
A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist and 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.

Endurance Alfred Lansing
The astonishing saga of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton's survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas, as Time magazine put it, "defined heroism." Alfred Lansing's scrupulously researched and brilliantly narrated book has long been acknowledged as the definitive account of the Endurance's fateful trip. Lansing consulted with ten of the surviving members and gained access to diaries and personal accounts by eight others. Endurance teaches respect for survival and is an unforgettable story.

Friday Night Lights H.G. Bissinger
Return once again to the enduring account of life in the Mojo lane, to the Permian Panthers of Odessa -- the winningest high school football team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business.In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, Bissinger chronicles one of the Panthers' dramatic seasons and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires-and sometimes shatters-the teenagers who wear the Panthers' uniforms. Now a major motion picture starring Billy Bob Thorton.

I Have Lived a Thousand Years Livia Bitton-Jackson
It wasn't long ago that Elli led a normal life--a life rich and full that included family, friends, school, and thoughts about boys. But these adolescent daydreams quickly darken in March 1944, when the Nazis invade Hungary. First, Elli can no longer attend school, have possessions, or talk to her neighbors. Then she and her family are forced to leave their house behind to move into a crowded ghetto, where privacy becomes a luxury of the past and food becomes a scarcity. I Have Lived a Thousand Years is a story of cruelty and suffering, but at the same time a story of hope, faith, perseverance, and love.

A Long Walk to Water Linda Sue Park
A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

Rocket Boys Homer Hickam
"Until I began to build and launch rockets, I didn't know my home town was at war with itself over its children, and that my parents were locked in a kind of bloodless combat over how my brother and I would live our lives. I didn't know that if a girl broke your heart, another girl, virtuous at least in spirit, could mend it on the same night. And I didn't know that the enthalpy decrease in a converging passage could be transformed into jet kinetic energy if a divergent passage was added. The other boys discovered their own truths when we built our rockets, but those were mine." So begins Homer "Sonny" Hickam Jr.'s extraordinary memoir of life in Coalwood, West Virginia--a hard-scrabble little mining company town where the only things that mattered were coal mining and high school football, and where the future was regarded with more fear than hope. Looking back after a distinguished NASA career, Hickam shares the story of his youth, taking readers into the life of the little mining town of Coalwood and the boys who would come to embody its dreams.


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