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7th Grade Summer Reading List

Required Reading: Read one fiction and one nonfiction book on an environmental issue:

Fiction Suggestions

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Raiders’ Ransom by Emily Diamond
The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner
Flush by Carl Hiaasen
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Scat by Carl Hiaasen
Squirm by Carl Hiaasen
Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani
Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Keeper by Mal Peet
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes
The Fog Diver by Joel Ross
The Last Wild by Piers Torday

Nonfiction Suggestions

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown (Graphic Novel)
Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Motion by Loree Griffin Burns
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Moonbird: A Year on the Wind With the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose
The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot by Sy Montgomery
The Frog Scientist by Pamela Turner
Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean (Science Comics) by Maris Wicks


We highly recommend the following books.


Abdel-Fattah, Randa           Does My Head Look Big in This?

When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth. Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full- time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else. Can she handle the taunts of "towel head," the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah's debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.

Alexander, Kwame  Booked

Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can’t nobody stop you/

can’t nobody cop you…
In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER,  soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read.  

This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!

Alexander, Kwame  The Crossover

"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He 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.

Alvarez, Julia            Before We Were Free

The year is 1960. In the Dominican Republic, the dictator Trujillo has an iron grip. Anita has just begun 7th grade in the American School. As family members begin to leave the family compound, and the U.S. consul moves into a vacant house on the property, Anita becomes aware that all is not right. Her father and uncle are involved in a plot to free the Dominican people. She is just beginning to become a young woman, but is now forced to quickly leave childhood behind when her life falls apart.

Auxier, Jonathan     The Night Gardener

This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier’s exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier’s exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

Canales, Viola                       The Tequila Worm

Sofia comes from a family of storytellers. Here are her tales of growing up in the barrio in McAllen, Texas, full of the magic and mystery of family traditions: making Easter cascarones, celebrating el Dia de los Muertos, preparing for quinceañera, rejoicing in the Christmas nacimiento, and curing homesickness by eating the tequila worm. When Sofia is singled out to receive a scholarship to boarding school, she longs to explore life beyond the barrio, even though it means leaving her family to navigate a strange world of rich, privileged kids. It’s a different mundo, but one where Sofia’s traditions take on new meaning and illuminate her path.

Clements, Andrew   Things Not Seen

When fifteen-year-old Bobby Phillips wakes one morning it slowly sinks in that he has become invisible. He is still there. He is still himself. It's just that no eye can detect him. Once he gets his mind around this, he wonders how to break the news to his parents. All agree they must carry on as normally as possible and try to hide the condition until something can be done.

Cochrane, Mick        The Girl Who Threw Butterflies

Molly and her father shared a love of baseball. In the early evenings he taught her how to throw a knuckleball, the hardest pitch to throw, hit, or catch. Tired of girl's softball, passionate about the real thing Molly decides to try out for varsity men's baseball. This is the story of how she gains the confidence to play ball, earns, the respect of the team, and applies lessons of the game to life.

Cushman, Karen      The Loud Silence of Francine Green

Revisiting the '50s is bittersweet in this true to life story of Francine, a perfectly behaved middle-school student, who avoids confrontation at all costs and though seen, is never heard. Her best friend, a new student in their Catholic school, is a different kettle of fish entirely. Sophie's searing intelligence, uncompromising embrace of truth, and predilection for exposing hypocrisy lead to many brushes with authority, in particular the nun who teaches them.

Engdahl, Sylvia         Enchantress From the Stars

Classic science fiction at its best probes the question of what makes a civilization advanced. Elana has stowed away on a secret mission headed by her father. She is unprepared to participate, but quickly gains a central role in secretly preventing the takeover of a primitive planet by a more sophisticated alien civilization that is not as knowledgeable or skilled as her own.

Farmer, Nancy          House of the Scorpion

Matt, a clone, lives in Opium, a futuristic country carved out between the U.S. and Mexico specifically for the world's drug lords. Clones are despised but Matt has special status because he is the clone of El Patron, the ruling drug lord. As Matt begins to understand who he is he refuses to accept his fate and the injustices he uncovers around him.

Gaiman, Neil             The Sleeper and the Spindle

A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish. 

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

Grimes, Nikki                       Bronx Masquerade

Mr. Ward, an English teacher at a Bronx high school, has an open mike in his classroom on Fridays so that students can read their poetry aloud. Eighteen diverse voices take the mike to express their feelings about themselves, each other, their families, troubles, hopes, and fears. Their poems and thoughts seem so authentic that it is tempting to think that these students are real.

Hiaasen, Carl            Chomp

Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he's grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle.  His father is the unpredictable one. 

When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called "Expedition Survival!", Wahoo figures he'll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show's boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo's acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who's sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out. 

They've only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna's dad shows up with a gun . . .

It's anyone's guess who will actually survive "Expedition Survival". . . .

Hiaasen, Carl            Scat 

Scat is another compelling story by Hiaasen about the environment and civil disobedience, but intended for an older audience. Here the stakes are higher and the issues more complex. Mrs. Starch is Nick and Marta's fearsome high school biology teacher. She regularly reduces students to tears, but not Duane who is better known to his fellow students as "Smoke." In fact, Smoke bites off, chews, and swallows the end of the pencil that Mrs. Starch points in his face during a heated exchange. Then, on a class trip to Black Vine Swamp, Mrs. Starch disappears just as a wildfire breaks out. The obvious suspect in her disappearance is Duane, but based on a little snooping, Nick and Marta have other suspicions.

Hiaasen, Carl             Squirm

Some facts about Billy Dickens:

* He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake.

* Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal.

* Billy isn't the type to let things go.

Some facts about Billy's family:

* They've lived in six different Florida towns because Billy's mom always insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest.

* Billy's older sister is dating a jerk. It's a mystery.

* Billy's dad left when he was four, and Billy knows almost nothing about him.

* Billy has just found his dad's address--in Montana.

This summer, Billy will fly across the country, hike a mountain, float a river, dodge a grizzly bear, shoot down a spy drone, save a neighbor's cat, save an endangered panther, and then try to save his own father.

Johnston, E.K.                      Star Wars: Ahsoka

Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance….

Kirby, Matthew        Icefall

Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors, anxiously awaits news of her father's victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. A malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, and a smothering claustrophobia slowly turns these prisoners of winter against one another.

Those charged with protecting the king's children are all suspect, and the siblings must choose their allies wisely. But who can be trusted so far from their father's watchful eye? Can Solveig and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he succeeds in destroying a kingdom?

London, Jack            Call of the Wild

Considered a masterpiece, this dog story written 100 years ago, still holds readers spellbound with its descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness and its animal life. Butch, a family pet is sold to dog traffickers. He becomes a sled dog struggling for survival during the Gold Rush. His primitive instincts surface, and ultimately he transforms himself into the heroic ghost dog of the Klondike.

Maas, Wendy            Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

On his thirteenth birthday, Jeremy receives an unexpected package in the mail. It is a box bearing the inscription "The meaning of life for Jeremy Fink on his thirteenth birthday." It was sent long ago by the father he misses terribly, who anticipated his untimely death in a car crash. The box is beautiful and intriguing. There is one problem. The keys to all five of its locks are missing and the box cannot be forced open without destroying the contents.

MacColl, Michaela   Promise the Night

Immediately compelling and action-packed, this carefully researched work of historical fiction introduces young readers to the childhood of the famous yet elusive Beryl Markham, the first person to fly solo from England to North America. As in her debut novel, Prisoners in the Palace, MacColl propels readers into a multilayered story with an unforgettable heroine and evocative language that brings the backdrop of colonial British East Africa to life. A fascinating read for anyone with a thirst for adventure.

Nielsen, Jennifer     Night Divided

From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen comes a stunning thriller about a girl who must escape to freedom after the Berlin Wall divides her family between east and west.

With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. 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, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

Oppel, Kenneth        Airborn

In a Jules Verne-like world that is at once past and future, Matt is the cabin boy on a vast airship that routinely circumnavigates the globe. His delicate midair dance to board a hot air balloon and save the pilot makes him a hero, but he is haunted by a tale the old balloonist tells of strange unearthly sky creatures.

Okorafor, Nnedi       Akata Witch (Akata Witch #1); Akata Warrior (Akata Witch #2)

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

Park, Linda Sue        Long Walk to Water

The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy 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. Please check out the author’s TED talk-

Pattou, Edith            East

Pattou transforms the Norse folktale East of the Sun and West of the Moon, a variant of Beauty and the Beast, into an enchanting saga filled with magic and myth. Set in ancient Norway, the rich and complex story is told in turns by the different characters. From the moment Rose is born, her mother fears that her daughter is predestined to fulfill an unusual and dangerous purpose. Over time Rose catches the eye of a mysterious white bear. Against her family's wishes she agrees to help the bear escape from the cruel spell of a troll queen.

Preller, James                      Bystander

Eric is the new kid in seventh grade. Griffin wants to be his friend. When you’re new in town, it’s hard to know who to hang out with—and who to avoid. Griffin seems cool, confident, and popular. But something isn't right about Griffin. He always seems to be in the middle of bad things. And if Griffin doesn't like you, you'd better watch your back. There might be a target on it. 

As Eric gets drawn deeper into Griffin’s dark world, he begins to see the truth about Griffin: he’s a liar, a bully, a thief. Eric wants to break away, do the right thing. But in one shocking moment, he goes from being a bystander . . . to the bully’s next victim. 

Preus, Margi             West of the Moon

Astri is a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America. After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent “goatman” in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.

Rennison, Louise     Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

There are six things very wrong with my life:

1.         I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.
2.         It is on my nose
3.         I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.
4.         In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.
5.         I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.
6.         I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones's Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it's "Fabbity fab fab!"

Reynolds, Jason       Ghost; Patina; Sunny

Running. That's all that Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But never for a track team. Nope, his game has always been ball. But when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race -- and wins -- the Olympic medalist track coach sees he has something: crazy natural talent. Thing is, Ghost has something else: a lot of anger, and a past that he is trying to outrun. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him? Make sure to check out the sequels, Patina and Sunny.

Schmidt, Gary           The Wednesday Wars; Okay for Now 

Holling, the only Protestant in his seventh grade, is unhappy to learn that he will be studying Shakespeare with his English teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class is excused for religious instruction. This sets the stage for a battle of wills, since Mrs. Baker, although not pleased to be saddled with one more responsibility, is grimly determined to see it through. Funny, poignant, and lighthearted, this look at life in the 1970s on Long Island is perfectly drawn. 

Sharenow, Rob         The Berlin Boxing Club

Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Naziera Berlin, it doesn't matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth to everyone around him.

So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, Karl sees it as the perfect chance to reinvent himself. A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but as Max becomes the mentor Karl never had, Karl soon finds both his boxing skills and his art flourishing.

But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. Karl longs to ask his new mentor for help, but with Max's fame growing, he is forced to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, leaving Karl to wonder where his hero's sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?

Shull, Megan             The Swap


ELLIE spent the summer before seventh grade getting dropped by her best friend since forever. JACK spent it training in “The Cage” with his tough-as-nails brothers and hard-to-please dad. By the time middle school starts, they’re both ready for a change. And just as Jack’s thinking girls have it so easy, Ellie’s wishing she could be anyone but herself.

Then, BAM! They swap lives—and bodies!

Now Jack’s fending off mean girls at sleepover parties while Ellie’s reigning as the Prince of Thatcher Middle School. As their crazy weekend races on—and their feelings for each other grow—Ellie and Jack begin to realize that maybe the best way to learn how to be yourself is to spend a little time being someone else.

Smith, Roland          Peak 

His parents are both mountain climbers, so he comes by his ability and obsession naturally, but climbing the façade of the Woolworth Building was probably not a great idea. Now in Tibet, in his father's custody for a year, he faces the biggest climbing challenge of all--becoming the youngest climber to reach the top of Mt. Everest. 

Sonnenblick, Jordan           Falling Over Sideways

It’s not easy being Claire. (Really.)

Claire’s life is a joke…but she’s not laughing. While her friends seem to be leaping forward, she’s dancing in the same place. The mean girls at school are living up to their mean name, and there’s a boy, Ryder, who’s just as bad, if not worse. And at home, nobody’s really listening to her—if anything, they seem to be more in on the joke than she is.

Then into all of this (not-very-funny-to-Claire) comedy comes something intense and tragic—while her dad is talking to her at the kitchen table, he falls over with a medical emergency. Suddenly the joke has become very serious—and the only way Claire, her family, and her friends are going to get through it is if they can find a way to make it funny again.

St. Exupery, Antoine de      The Little Prince

The author was an aviator who was shot down by a German reconnaissance plane one year after writing this story. In the story, he imagines himself marooned in the desert following a plane crash, where he meets an alien in search of what is important in life.

Timberlake, Amy     One Came Home

In the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly.

But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn't, her older sister Agatha flees, running off with a pack of "pigeoners" trailing the passenger pigeon migration. And when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body—wearing Agatha's blue-green ball gown—everyone assumes the worst. Except Georgie. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down (and coffined) before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister. She will track every last clue and shred of evidence to bring Agatha home. Yet even with resolute determination and her trusty Springfield single-shot, Georgie is not prepared for what she faces on the western frontier.

Vanderpool, Claire   Moon Over Manifest

In this Newbery winning novel, Abilene moves to Manifest, the town where his father lived when he was younger. In Manifest Abilene discovers the town has secrets and she works with her friends to discover the true history of Manifest and her father. This brilliant work of historical fiction is well deserving of its award and readers will be left wanting to know more about Abilene and Manifest.

Vawter, Vince                       Paperboy

An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend's paper route for the month of July, he knows he'll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything. 

The paper route poses challenges, but it's a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble--and puts the boy's life, as well as that of his family's devoted housekeeper, in danger.

Westerfield, Scott    Leviathan; Behemoth; Goliath

The English are “Darwinists” and the Germans “Clankers” in this steampunk version of World War I. The Darwinists fabricate their vehicles and weapons using DNA and living creatures while the Clankers rely only on machines. A British girl pretending to be a boy and the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire meet aboard the airship Leviathan, a flying whale, and these two novels follow them as they try to navigate their way through the war. The third book in the trilogy, Goliath, came out this past school year.  You can view the trailer for Leviathan here:

Westerfield, Scott    Uglies

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Wiles, Deborah        Countdown

The year is 1962 and Franny is dealing with growing up in suburban Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C. Her older sister is off to college and being secretive while her younger brother is just plain bothersome. Her best friend is not acting like her best friend anymore and the world might come to an end at any minute, literally. Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis this documentary novel includes song lyrics and news articles from the time to help you understand Franny’s world and the problems of the time. Deborah Wiles has crafted a moving novel about friendship and family.           

Wolk, Lauren           Wolf Hollow

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

Brilliantly crafted, Wolf Hollow is a haunting tale of America at a crossroads and a time when one girl’s resilience, strength, and compassion help to illuminate the darkest corners of our history.

Woodson, Jacqueline          Feathers 

This short novel takes on very big issues with grace and humor. Frannie doesn't know what to make of a white boy, from the wrong side of the tracks, who enrolls in her historically black school and who is instantly nicknamed "Jesus boy." She discovers how much more complex life is when she takes the time to look beyond labels and assumptions in an effort to understand more completely. 


Athus-Bertrand, Yann         The Future of the Earth

Lavishly illustrated, this primer on sustainable development looks at the environmental challenges currently facing humankind throughout the world. The discussion of major ecological issues is both fascinating and troubling.

Burleigh, Robert      Earth From Above(Revised)

The photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand decided to photograph the world from a helicopter so that it could be seen in a new way. This proved not to be an easy assignment since helicopters are always moving, the earth is a very large and complex subject, and governments require clearances to fly over their territories. In the end he visited almost 100 countries, took tens of thousands of pictures, and produced an extraordinary document of the world's natural wonders.

Deem, James M.       Bodies from Ash; Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii

In 79 B.C.E., the 20,000 people of Pompeii were overcome when Mt. Vesuvius erupted, spewing nuggets of pumice and then surges of extremely hot gases and ash. The city vanished from sight until it was rediscovered in the 18th Century. This fascinating look at the disaster, and the unusual archeological efforts to reconstruct it, provide a preview of a lost world that WES students visit on their trip to Italy.

Fleischman, John    Phineas Gage

In the mid 1800s, Phineas Gage worked in Vermont with black powder, blasting through rock to create a path for a new railroad line. An accident happens, but miraculously he manages to survive a seemingly fatal head injury. His case is still famous today for what it revealed about the workings of the human brain.

Fleischman, Sid        Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini

Drawing on his own experiences as a magician and his friendship with Houdini's wife, the author, Bess, examines the man behind the myth. The lively narration vividly captures the adventurous life of an illusive figure in American popular culture.

Freedman, Russell   The Voice that Challenged a Nation

Beginning with the legendary moment when Marian Anderson was invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, this photo biography focuses on Anderson's career and her involvement in civil rights. The author makes the times and the inspiring example of this great singer spring to life once more.

Hendrix, John          The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler

Interweaving handwritten text and art, John Hendrix tells the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his fight against the oppression of the German people during World War II. Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who was shocked to watch the German church embrace Hitler's agenda of hatred. He spoke out against the Nazi party and led a breakaway church that rebelled against racist and nationalist beliefs of the Third Reich. Struggling with how his faith interacted with his ethics, Bonhoeffer eventually became convinced that Hitler and the Nazi Party needed to be stopped--and he was willing to sacrifice anything and everything to do so.

Heyerdahl, Thor       Kon-Tiki

Thor Heyerdahl, a biologist, had a theory based on Polynesian stories, that the South Sea Islands in the Pacific Ocean were originally settled by an ancient people who had journeyed thousands of miles from the east. To prove this he and five others set out from Peru on a primitive raft to recreate the hypothetical voyage of over a thousand years before. This is the story of their amazing adventure.

Hickam, Homer       The Rocket Boys

This memoir by a NASA scientist is now better known as the movie "October Sky." Homer Hickam grew up in a West Virginia coal mining town but had his sights set somewhere else. His one hope to escape the mines rests on winning a college scholarship at a national science fair competition with his rocketry project. It is amazing how courage, creativity, and determination can sometimes beat impossible odds.

Hoose, Philip             Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95

National Book Award–winning author Phillip Hoose takes us around the hemisphere with the world’s most celebrated shorebird, showing the obstacles rufa red knots face, introducing a worldwide team of scientists and conservationists trying to save them, and offering insights about what we can do to help shorebirds before it’s too late. Through prose, research, and images, Hoose explores the tragedy of extinction through the triumph of a single bird. 

Lekuton, Joseph       Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the Savanna

The author who grew up in Kenya, pursued his education in the United States, and used to teach at the Langley School in Virginia. In this refreshingly candid memoir he describes his life as a nomadic tribesman. He recalls his first encounter with attacking lions, his fear of the pinching man, and the challenge of balancing his traditional culture with western schooling.

Macy, Sue      Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom

Take a lively look at women's history from aboard a bicycle, which granted females the freedom of mobility and helped empower women's liberation. Through vintage photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and songs, Wheels of Change transports young readers to bygone eras to see how women used the bicycle to improve their lives. Witty in tone and scrapbook-like in presentation, the book deftly covers early (and comical) objections, influence on fashion, and impact on social change inspired by the bicycle, which, according to Susan B. Anthony, "has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world."

Murphy, Jim Truce

One of the most remarkable events of World War I was the Christmas truce of 1914. The troops, defying orders, stopped the war for a day to celebrate Christmas. In Truce, Jim Murphy uses the soldiers own words and brilliant historical background to bring to life this miraculous event.

Partridge, Elizabeth Marching for Freedom

Ordinary kids can change history and Marching for Freedom shows how. Using the children’s own words and stunning photographs Elizabeth Partridge brings to life the danger and spirit of Selma in 1965. The book shows how children by standing up for what is right can help change the world.

Sheinkin, Steve        Bomb: The Race to Build—and—Steal World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

Stone, Tanya Lee      Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream

Everyone knows the story of the Apollo astronauts who landed on the moon but few know the story of the 13 women who tried to be astronauts. These brave women proved they were as tough and as capable as any man but were blocked by prejudice, jealousy and one of the most powerful men in Washington. In this award winning book Tanya Lee Stone brings to life this dramatic tale.   

Thimmesh, Jane      Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

This engaging look behind the scenes details the phenomenal effort that put three astronauts on the moon. The historic events of 1969, moments that showcased America at its best, come alive once more in this beautifully illustrated book that conveys the dangers of the mission and excitement that gripped watchers worldwide.

Turner, Pamela        Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune

Minamoto Yoshitsune should not have been a samurai. But his story is legend in this real-life saga.

This epic warrior tale reads like a novel, but this is the true story of the greatest samurai in Japanese history.

When Yoshitsune was just a baby, his father went to war with a rival samurai family—and lost. His father was killed, his mother captured, and his surviving half-brother banished. Yoshitsune was sent away to live in a monastery. Skinny, small, and unskilled in the warrior arts, he nevertheless escaped and learned the ways of the samurai. When the time came for the Minamoto clan to rise up against their enemies, Yoshitsune answered the call. His daring feats and impossible bravery earned him immortality.

Walker, Sally             Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917

On December 6, 1917 two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. One ship was loaded top to bottom with munitions and one held relief supplies, both intended for war torn Europe. The resulting blast flattened two towns, Halifax and Dartmouth, and killed nearly 2,000 people. As if that wasn't devastating enough, a blizzard hit the next day, dumping more than a foot of snow on the area and paralyzing much-needed relief efforts. Fascinating, edge-of-your-seat storytelling based on original source material conveys this harrowing account of tragedy and recovery.

Yousafzai, Malala     I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World

"I am Malala. This is my story."

Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren't allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn't go to school.

Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for teh cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school. No one expected her to survive.

Now she is an international symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest- ever Nobel Peace Prize nominee. In this Young Readers Edition of her bestselling memoir, which includes excessive photos and material, we hear firsthand the remarkable story of a girl who knew from a young age that she wanted to change the world-and did.

Malala's powerful story will open your eyes to another world and will make you believe in hope, truth, miracles, and the possibility that one person- one young person- can inspire change in her community and beyond.

Zhang, Ange Red Land, Yellow River

Now an artist in Canada, the author describes his teenage years as the son of a denounced writer during China's Cultural Revolution. The text is illustrated with the author's artwork and family photos. The memoir concludes with a brief history of the times.

Graphic Novels

Lee, Tony       Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood

In Outlaw, author and illustrator Tony Lee takes a new look at the Robin Hood legend. He marries beautiful artwork with the classic story and the result is an immensely enjoyable read.

Telgemeier, Raina   Smile

Smile, that’s what you hear whenever your picture is taken. What happens if you have had your two front teeth knocked out and have to go through years of painful dental procedures to look “normal” again? In Smile, author and illustrator Raina Telgemeier looks back at her own experiences and creates a beautiful graphic novel that explores friendship, growing up and the pain of braces.


Creech, Sharon         Heartbeat

Newbery Medalist Creech ("Walk Two Moons") masterfully weaves this story, told in free verse, about a young girl finding her identity and learning how it fits within the many rhythms of life.

Lai, Thanhha             Inside Out and Back Again

Inspired by the author's own childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam as a refugee and immigrating to Alabama, this novel told in verse is sure to capture readers' hearts and open their eyes.


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