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2014 Grade 7 & 8 Summer Reading List

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Many of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE. Most listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), or the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA). (Download a .pdf of the list).


The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, The Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson
Eel, an orphan, and his best friend Florrie must help Dr. John Snow prove that cholera is spread through water, and not poisonous air, when an epidemic sweeps across their London neighborhood in 1854. Lexile: 660

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
It is 1943, and 11-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is traveling west on a train to live with her scientist father–but no one will tell her exactly where he is. When she reaches Los Alamos, New Mexico, she learns why: he’s working on a top secret government program. Lexile: 790


Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl. Lexile: 690

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Sixteen-year-old Malencia (Cia) Vale is chosen to participate in The Testing to attend the University; however, Cia is fearful when she figures out her friends who do not pass The Testing are disappearing. Lexile:

Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
When fifteen-year-old Bobby wakes up and finds himself invisible, he and his parents and his new blind friend
Alicia try to find out what caused his condition and how to reverse it. Lexile: 690
ALA, Nutmeg Nominee 2006

Dr. Franklin’s Island by Ann Halam
When their plane crashes over the Pacific Ocean, three science students are left stranded on a tropical island and then imprisoned by a doctor who is performing horrifying experiments on humans involving the transfer of animal genes. Lexile: 690

When We Wake by Karen Healey
Enjoying her life filled with music, first love and protesting social injustices, 16-year-old Tegan unexpectedly
dies and reawakens 100 years in the future to discover that she is the first government guinea pig subject to be
cryogenically frozen and successfully revived, a situation that forces her to confront appalling secrets.. Lexile: 770

The Carbon Diaries, 2015 by Saci Lloyd
In 2015, when England becomes the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing in a drastic bid to combat climate change, sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year of rationing as her family spirals out of control. Lexile: 690

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story. LexileL: 790

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Lexile: 770
ALA, Nutmeg Nominee,

Orleans by Sherry L. Smith
Set in a futuristic, hostile Orleans landscape, Fen de la Guerre must deliver her tribe leader’s baby over the Wall into the Outer States before her blood becomes tainted with Delta Fever. (Publisher) Virus diseases. Lexile: 750

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The adventures of a French scientist and his companions who travel the seven seas in the mid-nineteenth century as prisoners in the submarine of the mysterious Captain Nemo. Lexile: 1030


Primates by Jim Ottaviani
This is the true story of three scientists who risked their lives for research that forever changed the way we think of primates–including ourselves. Lexile:


Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem by Marilyn Nelson
A series of poems on the life of Fortune, an eighteenthcentury African-American slave in New England whose skeleton came to be an exhibit at Connecticut’s Mattatuck Museum; includes notes and archival photos. Lexile: NP


Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns
Describes the work of a man who tracks trash as it travels great distances by way of ocean currents. Lexile: 1200

Faces From the Past: Forgotten People of North America by James Deem
Describes the discovery of bodies in North America from fifteen to twenty thousand years ago, and discusses the evidence their remains reveal about themselves and the civilizations in which they lived. Lexile: 1190

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman
Through the case history of Phineas Gage, a 19th century Vermonter who had an iron bar driven through his brain and lived, the book examines what is known of brain function. Lexile: 1030

Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives by Albert Marrin
A history of the slick and foul-smelling substance that drives our existence and that becomes scarcer as our dependence on it grows. Lexile: 1070

Eruption!: The Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch
An account of the work of volcanologists Andy Lockhart, John Pallister, and their team describes their life-risking efforts to investigate dangerous volcanoes that pose threats to more than one billion people worldwide. Lexile: 1000

Bomb: The Race to Build – And Steal – The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Recounts the scientific discoveries that enabled atom splitting, the military intelligence operations that occurred in rival countries, and the work of brilliant scientists hidden at Los Alamos. Lexile: 920

The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth by Anita Silvey
Presents the experiences and contributions of early adventurers, explorers, and scientists responsible for discovering and documenting new types of plants, showing how their often dangerous voyages help establish the field of botany. Lexile: ;1170


Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal
Traces the inspiring life and career of the late founder of Apple, covering topics ranging from his struggles as an adopted child and a college dropout to his Buddhist faith and friendship with Steve Wozniak, in a portrait framed around his inspirational Stanford University commencement speech. Lexile: 1110
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound,

Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
A biography of English naturalist Charles Darwin that provides an account of the personality behind evolutionary theory and the affect of his work on his personal life, such as his relationship with his religious wife. Lexile: 1020

 Favorites & Classics


The Giver by Lois Lowry
Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives. Lexile: 760

Eva by Peter Dickinson
After a terrible accident, a young girl wakes up to discover that she has been given the body of a chimpanzee. Lexile: 1010

Whirligig by Paul Fleischman
While traveling to each corner of the country to build a whirligig in memory of the girl whose death he causes, sixteen-year-old Brian finds forgiveness and atonement. Lexile: 760

House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton
A black family of five moves into an enormous house once used as a hiding place for runaway slaves. Mysterious sounds and events as well as the discovery of secret passageways make the family believe they are in grave danger. Lexile: 670

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
A mysterious teenage boy harboring a dark secret helps Zoë come to terms with her mother’s terminal illness. Lexile: 690

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
After his anger erupts into violence, Cole, in order to avoid going to prison, agrees to participate in a sentencing alternative based on the native American Circle Justice, and he is sent to a remote Alaskan Island where an encounter with a huge Spirit Bear changes his life. Lexile: 670

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Tiffany, a young witch-to-be in the land of Discworld, teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland. Lexile: 680

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
A black family living in the South during the 1930’s are faced with prejudice and discrimination which their children don’t understand. Lexile: 920

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever. Lexile: 590

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
When eleven-year old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father’s wishes. Lexile: 970

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return. Lexile: 1000

Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt
A car accident causes fifteen-year-old Izzy to lose one leg and face the need to start building a new life as an amputee. Lexile: 790

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
A teenage boy and girl, high school sophomores from unhappy homes, tell of their bizarre relationship with an old man. Lexile: 950

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Death tells the story of a young German girl, Liesel, whose book-stealing and story-telling talents during World War II help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors. Lexile: 730

Favorite Series

The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
Young Wizards series by Diane Duane
Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
The Tillermans series by Cynthia Voigt

Categories: Summer Reading Lists
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