Middle School Summer Reading 2014


Also Known as Harper by Anne Haywood Leal

After you have read the novel, complete one of the following in a typed paper of at least a page, double-spaced. Remember to put your name and date in a heading at the beginning of your paper.

1. The following is an excerpt from page 36: “It was the part where Scout finally gets to see their hermit neighbor, Boo Radley. It’s where she realizes what her daddy’s been trying to tell her all along. That people aren’t always what they seem from the outside. You got to give them a chance and figure them out for your own self.” Apply this lesson about needing to know people before you judge them to a character in the story. What is the first impression of this person? What are the things that change the reader’s opinion? What do we know about this character at the end of the story that we didn’t know in the beginning?

2. Some of the most influential characters in the story are ones that are already gone- Harper’s daddy, Dorothy’s husband and daughter, Lorraine’s father. Discuss what you know about one of these characters.  What impact does this person have on the people in the story? Make sure you use specific examples in your discussion.

3. Harper uses her words to make order of her chaotic life. Her poems flow from her head onto paper. Write poems (2-3) of your own that follow in Harper’s footsteps as you make sense of the experiences that have taken place in your life.


During the summer, Seventh Graders are required to read The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi and two choices from the list to the right. For The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle , you are going to write three diary entries which trace the main character's change from a pampered and naive thirteen-year-old to an independent young woman who defies society's stereotype of how a young woman should act. Each entry, about half of a page in length, should use the first person narrative point of view. The entry will be written as if Charlotte is writing it herself. The first entry will show how she feels about Captain Jaggery, Zachariah, and the rest of the crew. Indicate her attitude about being the only female on board and a person of class among the lowly crew. The second will reveal the events and people who bring about the change in Charlotte's attitude. The last will cover her feelings about the events and people toward the end of the story and the startling end of the story. Remember to talk about the details of the story, but the entries should include Charlotte's feelings. They are not summaries. Entries should be typed and double-spaced. The whole thing should be about a page and a half in length. If you read this novel early in the summer, please review it before school begins as there will be a quiz on comprehension and activities centered around the story to start off the year.


During the summer, Eighth Graders are required to read The Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick, Feed by M.T. Anderson, and one other book chosen from the list to the right. There will be a short reading quiz on The Revenge of the Whale during the first week of class. For Feed, you can choose from one of the following for your reading response. Each of the responses should be typed and double-spaced. The entire response should be about two pages in length.

1. Write a character sketch of Titus. What is he like as a person? Choose two or three attributes and develop each of these in a well-developed paragraph that includes analysis supported by specific details and well-chosen short quotations. Conclude with your personal feelings about Titus.

2. What role does commercialism play throughout the novel? What effect does it have on the lives and feelings of the characters? What is your role as a consumer?


Required Reading

Choice of two of the following:

  • Alcott, Little Women; Eight Cousins
  • Anderson, Speak
  • Armstrong, Sounder
  • Barry et al., Peter and the Starcatchers
  • Bloor, Tangerine
  • Burch, They Cage the Animals at Night
  • Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty
  • Bruchac, The Winter People
  • Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Cather, My Antonia
  • Christie, And Then There Were None
  • Cleaver, Where the Lillies Bloom
  • Colfer, Artemis Fowl
  • Collier and Collier, With Every Drop of Blood; Jump Ship to Freedom; War Comes to Willy Freeman
  • Collodi, Pinocchio
  • Cooper, King of Shadows
  • Cormier, The Chocolate War
  • Creech, Walk Two Moons
  • Crutcher, Whale Talk
  • Dickens, A Christmas Carol
  • Eliot, Silas Marner
  • Fleischman, Whirligig
  • Funke, Inkheart; Inkspell
  • Funke and Burmingham, The Thief Lord
  • Gaiman, Coraline
  • Hesse, Out of the Dust
  • Howe, The Misfits
  • Johnson, The Key to the Golden Firebird
  • Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
  • Lamb, Tales from Shakespeare
  • L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
  • London, The Call of the Wild
  • Maguire, Son of a Witch
  • Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
  • Myers, Monster
  • Paterson, Lyddie; Bridge to Terabithia
  • Paolini, Eragon; Eldest
  • Pullman, The Golden Compass
  • Rawlings, The Yearling
  • Riordan, The Lightening Thief
  • Sage and Zug, Magyk
  • Shute, On the Beach
  • Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • Spinelli, Stargirl; Loser
  • Sone, Nisei Daughter
  • Speare, The Witch of Blackbird Pond
  • Steinbeck, The Pearl; Grapes of Wrath
  • Stevenson, Kidnapped; Treasure Island
  • Sykes, The Seven Daughters of Eve
  • Tolan, Surviving the Applewhites
  • Tolkien, Lord of the Rings
  • Trueman, Stuck in Neutral
  • Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; The Prince and the Pauper; Tom Sawyer
  • Wharton, Ethan Frome
  • Yep, Dragonwings
  • Voigt, Homecoming; Izzy-Willy Nily
  • Yolen, The Devil’s Arithmetic
  • Westerfeld, Uglies
  • Bruchac, Joseph. Bowman’s Store: A Journey to Myself (memoir)
  • Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. The Body Project (history)
  • Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl (diary)
  • Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher.  A Midwife’s Tale  (history)
  • Strauch, Barbara. The Primal Teen (science)
  • Schlosser, Chew on This (science)
Especially for Eighth Graders

(sequels and other books related to 7th grade curriculum)

  • Collier and Collier, My Brother Sam is Dead
  • Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Taylor, Let the Circle Be Unbroken; The Land
  • Zindel, The Pigman’s Legacy