ELA 7th Grade Summer Reading List

Suggestions for sweet summer mornings and long afternoons

Dive for Five!

A great way to keep your students reading skills sharp during the summer is to take advantage of Austin ISD’s five book dive summer reading list.


Research shows that when students read at least five books during the summer, they are more likely to retain their reading skills and be better prepared when school resumes in the fall.

Get $5!!
This year, AISD is partnering with BookPeople, Texas’ leading independent bookstore, on the five-book dive challenge. Students who complete an optional reading log with the names of the five books they read over the summer can show the log at BookPeople to receive a $5 gift certificate.

Also, all students have access to myON.com, a digital library with thousands of books that are customized by student interest and independent reading level. Visit tinyurl.com/myonaisd for login information, parent letters and video tutorials.

Recommended Books

In this Smore, you will find recommended books for students entering 7th grade. Three lists for various reading interests each provide 5 books that students should read over the summer. Reading these books will provide the students with a common reading experience and ELA 7 teachers will be drawing on these titles for examples during the next school year. This is not required reading, just a list of suggestions to lead you on the reading path.

Ways to Read

The books may be read silently, as a family, or students may find them on MyOn (see instructions above) or on amazon.com or the Whispercast app. For struggling readers, listening to someone read by following along in the book really helps students improve their comprehension and reading skills.

Happy Reading!

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Books for Reluctant Readers or "Do I HAVE to Read this Summer??????!!!!"

The Absolutely True Story of A Part-Time Indian

From the Publisher on Amazon.com:

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

from Understood.com:

The lavish, enthralling illustrations in this book draw readers in right away. But they include many details that are easy to miss at first glance. The text of the story is similar. It engages readers quickly, but gives way to a complex plot as the book moves along. The art and words work together to immerse readers in Hugo’s world, where he is a 12-year-old boy living a hidden life in a Paris train station in the 1930s. Part graphic novel, part flip-book, part movie: Hugo Cabret is a masterpiece of words and art

This book was also made into a wonderful, charming movie. Watch the movie first, then read the book.

Hoot, by Carl Hiassen

from Understood.com:

There’s nothing like rooting for the underdog to get a kid pulled into a story, and Hoot’s main character gets hit from all sides. Roy is the new kid in school. He’s dealing with bullies his own age, but ends up taking on adults who could be called the same. Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House is determined to bulldoze an abandoned lot that just happens to be home to some miniature burrowing owls. This funny, engaging ecological mystery really ropes in middle school kids as they root for the hero.

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor: Book One by Jon Scieszka

from Understood.com

Jon Scieszka is the author of several great books and series for boys. He’s obsessed with getting more boys interested in reading. His new Frank Einstein graphic novel includes the engaging text and illustrations he’s known for. It also manages to combine science, technology, text and art in one book that kids won’t be able to put down. The author also runs a fantastic website called guysread.com that’s chock-full of outstanding resources to get boys reading. It’s a must-visit

Wonder, by R. J. Palacio

from Understood:

Six different narrators tell the story of Auggie, a boy who was born with facial deformities. The book details his struggles to fit in—or at least not stick out. Auggie is homeschooled until fifth grade, when he heads to his public school and really faces life in the public eye. His journey is beautifully told from different perspectives and can give all children insight into how other kids view them.

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Happy Reader or "I'm bored. I guess I'll read a book."

Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell

An Oldie, but a goodie, this novel opens the door to adventure and coming-of-age genres.

from Goodreads:

In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound. Once, Indians also lived on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind. — This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor

Another classic, award-winning novel...

from Goodreads.com:

Why is the land so important to Cassie's family? It takes the events of one turbulent year—the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she's black—to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family's lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride—no matter how others may degrade them, the Logans possess something no one can take away.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

One of the most imaginative and charming books I've read in many, many years... this book takes familiar characters like Jack Sprat and gives them a whole new twist.

from Goodreads.com:

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

Many students have read this series, but if you haven't, this summer is the perfect time to start. If your student is devouring these books, you might want to check out Greek Mythology for Beginners, by Joe Lee which retells the classic Greek mythology tales and traces their stories through modern day comic books, movies and of course, Percy Jackson.

from Goodreads.com:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai

from Goodreads.com:

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons

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Hungry Readers or "Just One More Chapter, Pleaaaaseeee!"

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

This thick, juicy beautifully written book will keep your avid readers entranced for a few days....

from Goodreads.com:

The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

One of my favorite classic books, this book is one story when you're 12, another when you're 18 and another when you're 30. Truly, the definition of a classic....

From Goodreads.com:

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Before dystopian novels were cool, Ray Bradbury terrifies readers with his vision of a post-literate future. One of the novels that turned me on to reading, and into an English teacher, this classic can be read over and over.

From Goodreads.com:

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer

The most modern of these selections, this novel is sure to become a classic. Even if it doesn't hold up to the test of time, it's a really great read.

From Goodreads.com:

Matteo Alacran was not born; he was harvested with the DNA from El Patron, lord of a country called Opium. Can a boy who was bred to guarantee another’s survival find his own purpose in life? And can he ever be free?

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, by Dava Sobel

Don't shy away from this non-fiction selection. This book reads like an adventure and mystery novel. The author entices readers into a story involving the joy and daring of thinking outside of the box, or the globe, in this case.

From Goodreads.com:

Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day--and had been for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Thousands of lives, and the increasing fortunes of nations, hung on a resolution.

The scientific establishment of Europe--from Galileo to Sir Issac Newton--had mapped the heavens in both hemispheres in its certain pursuit of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical solution--a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land. Longitude is a dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking, and opens a new window on our world.