Grade 8 Summer Reading

Holding Students Accountable Since 2006

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Directions and Suggestions


Reading is a wonderful way to meet new books and authors, make new discoveries, keep your literacy skills sharp and increase your general knowledge. Our suggested list of books will encourage you to think about the Driving Question (DQ) “How do we face our fears and stay true to ourselves?”

Reading one, some, or all of these books will help you answer that question. There will be no quiz. You do not have to take notes. Instead, you will participate in a discussion and write an in-class journal as you consider the DQ. If you do not read any of these books, you may reference other books, blogs or articles you have read this summer or other years, or refer to historical, personal or current events. You may see some books on the list you have already read. One of the great joys of reading is rereading; it’s also a great way to strengthen your reading confidence. That might be a place for you to start. Keep in mind how the author or characters might answer the DQ.

We encourage you to order books from The Book Oasis on Main Street or check them out from the Stoneham Public Library - sometimes there is a waiting list.

How do we face our fears and stay true to ourselves?

*Easy **Medium ***Challenging (our best guess)

*A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass. Afraid that she is crazy, thirteen-year-old Mia, who sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound, keeps this a secret until she becomes overwhelmed by school, changing relationships, and the death of her cat, Mango. Fiction.

*The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? The Graveyard Book Newbery Medal and Carnegie Medal book. Fantasy.

*Summer Ball by Mike Lupica. Danny Walker is back in this sequel to Travel Team . Danny goes to a summer basketball camp with some of the country's best players in his age group. He spends a lot of time on the bench because his coach (a retired college coach) determines that he is too short for the game. Danny suspects, however, that the coach's antagonism may have more to do with an old grudge the coach holds against Danny's dad, a former basketball star. Sports. Fiction. Series.

*The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. Unfriendly ghosts, haunts, and spirits, are appearing throughout London. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Talented Lucy teams up with Anthony, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will they survive the Red Room to see another day? Fantasy.

**Rules by Cynthia Lord. Twelve-year-old Catherine has a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's tried to teach David rules such as "Keep your pants on in public". But the summer Catherine meets Jason and Kristi, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal? Fiction.

**Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Memoir in verse.

**Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. When an asteroid pushes the moon closer to Earth, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions disrupt life across the planet. Written in the form of 16-year-old Miranda's diary, this story depicts one family's struggle to survive in a world drastically changed. Fiction. Survival. Series. Read them all!

**The Game of My Life: A True Story of Challenge, Triumph and Growing up Autistic by Jason J-Mac McElwain with Daniel Paisner. You might have seen the viral you-tube video of J-Mac, the basketball manager of his senior basketball team, who was put in for the final game and scored more than 20 points. He tells his story with his family, coaches and friends. Sports. Nonfiction.

**The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin. Seventeen-year-old Matt writes an extended letter to his youngest sister, Emmy, recalling their childhood with Nikki, their sadistic and mentally disturbed mother. When Nikki, just out of jail, kidnaps Emmy, Matt finds out exactly how far he will go to ensure his sister's safety. Fiction. Mature readers.

***Divergent by Veronica Roth. In Beatrice’s post-dystopian home of Chicago, each person belongs to a faction based on virtues such as candor and amity. Beatrice chooses the dauntless faction during the testing, but learns a disturbing secret about herself. As a power struggle breaks out, she must decide whom she can trust and then commits a terrible act. Suspense. Fiction. Series.

***Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Fifteen-year-old Lina lives in Lithuania until Soviet officers invade her home. Forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her brother are taken to a Siberian work camp. Risking everything, she places clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. Historical fiction (NOTE: DO NOT BUY FIFTY SHADES OF GREY – different book).

***Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. In the future, Nailer’s dangerous job is to crawl deep into ancient oil tankers, scavenging copper wire. After a hurricane, Nailer and his friend find a wreck filled with valuables. Amid the wreckage, a girl clings to life. If they help her, she can show them a world of privilege that they have never known. But can they trust her? Futuristic. Post-apocalyptic.

***The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Death narrates this WW II story of a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel survives by stealing 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 before he is marched to Dachau. Historical fiction. Best for mature readers.