Grade 8 classic readings

View all Recommendations by Age > Recommendations for Age 9-12 book lists; This list was last updated on 4/9/2013
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This list is credited to Justin Taylor.  Please refer the PDF version of the list. 

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The Sword in the Stone
"Learn. That is the only thing that never fails."--Merlyn the Wizard

Before there was a famous king named Arthur, there was a curious boy named Wart and a kind old wizard named Merlyn. Transformed by Merlyn into the forms of his fantasy, Wart learns the value of history from a snake, of education from a badger, and of courage from a hawk--the lessons that help turn a boy into a man. Together, Wart and Merlyn take the reader through this timeless story of childhood and adventure--The Sword in the Stone

T.H. White's classic tale of the young Arthur's questioning and discovery of his life is unparalleled for its wit and wisdom, and for its colorful characters, from the wise Merlyn to the heroic Robin Wood to the warmhearted King Pellinore.

Golden Kite Honor artist Dennis Nolan has loved The Sword in the Stone since childhood, and he imbues White's tale with magic and mystery in his glowing illustrations. Readers who know Arthur or are meeting him for the first time will delight in this beautiful rendering of one of the greatest stories of all time.
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Ben-Hur
This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare's finesse to Oscar Wilde's wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim's Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library.
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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Referring to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, H. L. Mencken noted that his discovery of this classic American novel was "the most stupendous event of my whole life"; Ernest Hemingway declared that "all modern American literature stems from this one book," while T. S. Eliot called Huck "one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction, not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet."
The novel's preeminence derives from its wonderfully imaginative re-creation of boyhood adventures along the mighty Mississippi River, its inspired characterization, the author's remarkable ear for dialogue, and the book's understated development of serious underlying themes: "natural" man versus "civilized" society, the evils of slavery, the innate value and dignity of human beings, the stultifying effects of convention, and other topics. But most of all, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a wonderful story ― filled with high adventure and unforgettable characters (including the great river itself) ― that no one who has read it will ever forget.
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Whether forming a pirate gang to search for buried treasure or spending a quiet time at home, sharing his medicine with Aunt Polly's cat, the irrepressible Tom Sawyer evokes the world of boyhood in nineteenth century rural America. In this classic story, Mark Twain re-created a long-ago world of freshly whitewashed fences and Sunday school picnics into which sordid characters and violent incidents sometimes intruded. The tale powerfully appeals to both adult and young imaginations. Readers explore this memorable setting with a slyly humorous born storyteller as their guide.
Tom and Huck Finn conceal themselves in the town cemetery, where they witness a grave robbery and a murder. Later, the boys, feeling unappreciated, hide out on a forested island while the townspeople conduct a frantic search and finally mourn them as dead. The friends triumphantly return to town to attend their own funeral, in time for a dramatic trial for the graveyard murder. A three-day ordeal ensues when Tom and his sweetheart, Becky Thatcher, lose their way in the very cave that conceals the murderer.
With its hilarious accounts of boyish pranks and its shrewd assessments of human nature, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has captivated generations of readers of all ages. This inexpensive edition of the classic novel offers a not-to-be-missed opportunity to savor a witty and action-packed account of small-town boyhood in a bygone era.
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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court By Mark Twain
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The Hiding Place
"Every experience God gives us . . . is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see."--Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler's concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.

Here is the riveting account of how Corrie and her family were able to save many of God's chosen people. For 35 years millions have seen that there is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still. Now The Hiding Place, repackaged for a new generation of readers, continues to declare that God's love will overcome, heal, and restore.

"A groundbreaking book that shines a clear light on one of the darkest moments of history."--Philip Yancey, author, The Jesus I Never Knew

"Ten Boom's classic is even more relevant to the present hour than at the time of its writing. We . . . need to be inspired afresh by the courage manifested by her family."--Jack W. Hayford, president, International Foursquare Church; chancellor, The King's College and Seminary

"The Hiding Place is a classic that begs revisiting. Corrie ten Boom lived the deeper life with God. Her gripping story of love in action will challenge and inspire you!"--Joyce Meyer, best-selling author and Bible teacher
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Gulliver's Travels

Regarded as the preeminent prose satirist in the English language, Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) intended this masterpiece, as he once wrote Alexander Pope, to "vex the world rather than divert it." Savagely ironic, it portrays man as foolish at best, and at worst, not much more than an ape.
The direct and unadorned narrative describes four remarkable journies of ship's surgeon Lemuel Gulliver, among them, one to the land of Lilliput, where six-inch-high inhabitants bicker over trivialities; and another to Brobdingnag, a land where giants reduce man to insignificance.
Written with disarming simplicity and careful attention to detail, this classic is diverse in its appeal: for children, it remains an enchanting fantasy. For adults, it is a witty parody of political life in Swift's time and a scathing send-up of manners and morals in 18th-century England.

release date: Jan 19, 2012
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In His Steps
One of the bestselling books of all time, Sheldon's 1897 classic was the first book to coin and popularize the famous question, “What would Jesus do?” The novel tells the story of a small town whose residents are compelled by the local pastor to ask this question before their every action. The challenge ultimately transforms the lives of these residents as they discover the unexpected consequences of aspiring to live like Christ and do well unto others.
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Twelfth Night

A delightfully comic tale of mistaken identities, Twelfth Night revolves around the physical likeness between Sebastian and his twin sister, Viola, each of whom, when separated after a shipwreck, believes the other to be dead. The theatrical romp begins when Viola assumes the identity of Cesario, a page in the household of the Duke of Orsino. The Duke is enamored of the Countess Olivia, who spurns him for the newly arrived young page. The comical machinations of Malvolio, Sir Toby Belch, the maid Maria, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek add to the ensuing confusion — all of which is pleasantly resolved when Viola and Sebastian meet once again. Filled with some of the finest comedic scenes in the English language, this entertaining masterpiece remains one of Shakespeare's most popular and most performed comedies.

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Much Ado About Nothing
"Much Ado About Nothing" is the story of Leonato, an Italian nobleman, his daughter, Hero, and his niece, Beatrice. Following a war Leonato welcomes into his house Don Pedro, his good friend; fellow soldiers of Don Pedro, Claudio and Benedick; as well as Don Pedro's illegitimate brother, Don John. Quickly amorous relations develop between Claudio and Hero and later between Benedick and Beatrice. As wedding plans are being made for Claudio and Hero, Don John tricks Claudio into believing that Hero has been unfaithful. The wedding bliss is briefly interrupted until the truth is finally discovered and the play ends in a joyful double wedding.
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Macbeth
Each book in the Arden Shakespeare series pr ovides a full introduction to the featured work, discussing the critical and historical background to the play, and deta iled notes and commentary on the same page as the text. '
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Julius Caesar

Based on Plutarch's account of the lives of Brutus, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony, Julius Caesar was the first of Shakespeare's Roman history plays. Presented for the first time in 1599, the play reveals the great dramatist's consummate ability to explore and express the most profound human emotions and instincts. So clearly and urgently does it impact its insights into history and human behavior, Julius Caesar is traditionally among the first of Shakespeare's plays to be studied at the secondary-school level.
In addition to its compelling insights into the human condition, Julius Caesar is also superb drama, as Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators hatch a plot to overthrow Caesar, dictator of Rome. After Caesar is assassinated, Mark Antony cleverly turns the crowd against the conspirators in one of the most famous speeches in literature. In the civil war that follows, the forces of Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar eventually win out over the armies of Cassius and Brutus. Humiliated and desperate, both conspirators choose to end their lives. These tragic events unfold in a riveting dramatic spectacle that also raises profound questions about power, government, ethics, and loyalty.
Now this great tragedy is available in this inexpensive edition, complete and unabridged with explanatory footnotes.

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Hamlet

In this quintessential Shakespeare tragedy, a young prince's halting pursuit of revenge for the murder of his father unfolds in a series of highly charged confrontations that have held audiences spellbound for nearly four centuries. Those fateful exchanges, and the anguished soliloquies that precede and follow them, probe depths of human feeling rarely sounded in any art.
The title role of Hamlet, perhaps the most demanding in all of Western drama, has provided generations of leading actors their greatest challenge. Yet all the roles in this towering drama are superbly delineated, and each of the key scenes offers actors a rare opportunity to create theatrical magic.
As if further evidence of Shakespeare's genius were needed, Hamlet is a unique pleasure to read as well as to see and hear performed. The full text of this extraordinary drama is reprinted here from an authoritative British edition complete with illuminating footnotes.
A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

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Ivanhoe
Wilfred of Ivanhoe returns from the Crusades to face the disapproval of his father, who disinherits him for his political allegiances and his love for the Lady Rowena. He gets caught up in the power-struggle between King Richard and Prince John. Set in 12th-century England, “Ivanhoe” is both a gripping historical novel and a study of human morality.
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The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters by C.S.  Lewis is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

One of the best-loved classics of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many dis-tinctions since its original publication in 1960. It has won the Pulitzer Prize, been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. It was also named the best novel of the twentieth century by librarians across the country (Library Journal). HarperCollins is proud to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the book's publication with this special hardcover edition.

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All Things Wise and Wonderful

The third volume in the multimillion copy bestselling series

Readers adored James Herriot's tales of his life as a Yorkshire animal doctor in All Creatures Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful. Now here's a third delightful volume of memoirs rich with Herriot's own brand of humor, insight, and wisdom.

In the midst of World War II, James is training for the Royal Air Force, while going home to Yorkshire whenever possible to see his very pregnant wife, Helen. Musing on past adventures through the dales, visiting with old friends, and introducing scores of new and amusing character--animal and human alike--Herriot enthralls with his uncanny ability to spin a most engaging and heartfelt yarn.

Millions of readers have delighted in the wonderful storytelling and everyday miracles of James Herriot in the over thirty years since his delightful animal stories were first introduced to the world.

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All Things Bright and Beautiful

"A very warm, very engaging read. . . . The reader falls totally under his spell."
--Associated Press

The second volume in the multimillion copy bestselling series

Millions of readers have delighted in the wonderful storytelling and everyday miracles of James Herriot in the over thirty years since his delightful animal stories were first introduced to the world.

Now in a new edition for the first time in a decade, All Things Bright and Beautiful is the beloved sequel to Herriot's first collection, All Creatures Great and Small, and picks up as Herriot, now newly married, journeys among the remote hillside farms and valley towns of the Yorkshire Dales, caring for their inhabitants---both two- and four-legged. Throughout, Herriot's deep compassion, humor, and love of life shine out as we laugh, cry, and delight in his portraits of his many, varied animal patients and their equally varied owners.

"Humor, realism, sensitivity, earthiness; animals comic and tragic; and people droll, pathetic, courageous, eccentric---all of whom he views with the same gentle compassion and a lively sense of the sad, the ridiculous, and the admirable."
--Columbus Dispatch

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All Creatures Great and Small

The classic multimillion copy bestseller

Delve into the magical, unforgettable world of James Herriot, the world's most beloved veterinarian, and his menagerie of heartwarming, funny, and tragic animal patients.
For over thirty years, generations of readers have thrilled to Herriot's marvelous tales, deep love of life, and extraordinary storytelling abilities. For decades, Herriot roamed the remote, beautiful Yorkshire Dales, treating every patient that came his way from smallest to largest, and observing animals and humans alike with his keen, loving eye.

In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school. From caring for his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth.

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The Best Short Stories of O. Henry
The more than 600 stories written by O. Henry provided an embarrassment of riches for the compilers of this volume.  The final selection of the thirty-eight stories in this collection offers for the reader's delight those tales honored almost unanimously by anthologists and those that represent, in variety and balance, the best work of America's favorite storyteller.  They are tales in his most mellow, humorous, and ironic moods.  They give the full range and flavor of the man born William Sydney Porter but known throughout the world as O. Henry, one of the great masters of the short story.
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Belles on Their Toes

Life is very different now in the rambling Gilbreth house.When the youngest was two and the oldest eighteen, Dad died and Mother bravely took over his business. Now, to keep the family together, everyone has to pitch in and pinch pennies. The resourceful clan rises to every crisis with a marvelous sense of fun -- whether it's battling chicken pox, giving the boot to an unwelcome boyfriend, or even meeting the President. And the few distasteful things they can't overcome -- like castor oil -- they swallow with good humor and good grace. Belles on Their Toes is a warm, wonderful, and entertaining sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen.

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Cheaper by the Dozen

No growing pains have ever been more hilarious than those suffered loudly by the riotous Gilbreth clan. First there are a dozen red-haired, freckle-faced kids to contend with. Then there's Dad, a famous efficiency expert who believes a family can be run just like a factory. Finally there's Mother, his partner in everything except discipline. How they all survive such escapades as forgetting Frank Jr. in a roadside restaurant or going on a first date with Dad in the backseat or having their tonsils removed en masse will keep you in stitches. You can be sure they're not only cheaper, they're funnier by the dozen.

release date: Sep 30, 1985
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Ship of the Line
May 1810, seventeen years deep into the Napoleonic Wars. Captain Horatio Hornblower is newly in command of his first ship of the line, the seventy-four-gun HMS Sutherland, which he deems "the ugliest and least desirable two-decker in the Navy List." Moreover, she is 250 men short of a full crew, so Hornblower must enlist and train "poachers, bigamists, sheepstealers," and other landlubbers. By the time the Sutherland reaches the blockaded Catalonian coast of Spain, the crew is capable of staging five astonishing solo raids against the French. But the grisly prospect of defeat and capture looms for both captain and crew as the Sutherland single-handedly takes on four French ships.
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The Hornblower Saga
The year is 1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Horatio Hornblower, a seventeen-year-old boy unschooled in seafaring and the ways of seamen, is ordered to board a French merchant ship and take command of crew and cargo for the glory of England. Though not an unqualified success, this first naval adventure teaches the young midshipman enough to launch him on a series of increasingly glorious exploits. This novel-in which young Horatio gets his sea legs, proves his mettle, and shows the makings of the legend he will become-is the first of the eleven swashbuckling Hornblower tales that are today regarded as classic adventure stories of the sea.
release date: Apr 18, 1990
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The Hornblower Saga
Although unfinished at the time of C. S. Forester's death, Hornblower During the Crisis delivers a full measure of action at sea-the hallmark of this incomparably exciting series of historical adventures. On the threshold of securing his first post as captain, Hornblower finds himself forced by the exigencies of war to fight alongside a man whom he has unintentionally helped to court-martial. And for the first time Hornblower assents to engaging in espionage in his efforts to bring victory and glory to England in the Napoleonic Wars. This extant fragment of Forester's final Hornblower novel is followed by the author's notes regarding the novel's conclusion. Also included in this volume are two stories-"Hornblower's Temptation" and "The Last Encounter"-that depict the great sea dog Hornblower in his youth and old age, respectively.
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The Hornblower Saga
In the wake of a humbling incident aboard a canal boat in the Cotswolds, young Captain Horatio Hornblower arrives in London to take command of the Atropos, a 22-gun sloop barely large enough to require a captain. Her first assignment under Hornblower's command is as flagship for the funeral procession of Lord Nelson. Soon Atropos is part of the Mediterranean Fleet's harassment of Napoleon, recovering treasure that lies deep in Turkish waters and boldly challenging a Spanish frigate several times her size. At the center of each adventure is Hornblower, Forester's most inspired creation, whose blend of cautious preparation and spirited execution dazzles friend and foe alike.
release date: Jun 01, 2011
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Hornblower Addendum - Five Stories (Hornblower Saga)
Five adventures of Horatio Hornblower, two as Lieutenant, two as Captain, and one as Admiral of the Fleet, collected here for the first time. These stories about daring exploits, compassion, and challenging discoveries were written outside the confines of books and were published by magazines. Here the author has given free reign to his character - creating unique circumstances to further the development of Hornblower's character. A potential mutiny thwarted, an Irish uprising out foxed, help to hundreds, managing a healthy sea voyage for an ailing monarch, and meeting once again Napoleon Bonaparte - very different insights into this complex man Hornblower.
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Beat to Quarters
June 1808, somewhere west of Nicaragua-a site suitable for spectacular sea battles. The Admiralty has ordered Captain Horatio Hornblower, now in command of the thirty-six-gun HMS Lydia, to form an alliance against the Spanish colonial government with an insane Spanish landowner; to find a water route across the Central American isthmus; and "to take, sink, burn or destroy" the fifty-gun Spanish ship of the line Natividad or face court-martial. A daunting enough set of orders-even if the happily married captain were not woefully distracted by the passenger he is obliged to take on in Panama: Lady Barbara Wellesley.
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The Robe
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900's and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
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