2007 Teacher's Choices-Advanced Readers (Grade 6-8)

View all Recommendations by Age > Recommendations for Age 9-12 book lists; This list was last updated on 8/1/2013
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Since 1989,  the International Reading Association started the Teachers' Choices project  that will encourage young people to read. These are books that kids will enjoy—and that contribute to learning across the curriculum. Teachers and parents will  find exceptional for curriculum use or reading aloud uses.

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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The Firefly Letters

A lyrical biography of a Cuban slave who escaped to become a celebrated poet.

Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty.

Powerful, haunting poems and breathtaking illustrations create a portrait of a life in which even the pain of slavery could not extinguish the capacity for hope.

The Poet Slave of Cuba is the winner of the 2008 Pura Belpre Medal for Narrative and a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Latino Interest.

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My Last Skirt
Jennie Hodgers dressed as a boy for the first time in order to help support her impoverished Irish family with a shepherd's wages. Then her arrival in America confirmed her belief that the world offers better opportunities to young men than to young women. So Jennie maintained her outward identity as Albert Cashier, serving as a grocery clerk in Queens, New York; as a farmhand in Ohio; and as a recruit in the 95th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. Not only did she survive three years in combat with her true identity undiscovered, she chose to continue living as Albert for nearly all of her life.

Combining careful research with vivid insight, Lynda Durrant portrays Albert Cashier as a soldier who served his adopted country and his comrades with loyalty and heroism, and Jennie Hodgers as a woman of a woman of astonishing strength, courage, and adaptability—a woman sometimes at war with her own secrets. Author's note, bibliography.
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Hurt Go Happy

Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis is used to being left out of conversations. Though she's been deaf since the age of six, Joey's mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. She strains to read the lips of those around her, but often fails.

Everything changes when Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari. Her new friends use sign language to communicate, and Joey secretly begins to learn to sign. Spending time with Charlie and Sukari, Joey has never been happier. She even starts making friends at school for the first time. But as Joey's world blooms with possibilities, Charlie's and Sukari's choices begin to narrow―until Sukari's very survival is in doubt.

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Hearts of Stone
When her father goes off to join the Yankee troops, fourteen-year-old Hannah fears her family will be torn apart by the Civil War. But nothing prepares her for her mother's sudden death. Hannah now finds herself responsible for keeping the young family together in a world where even her best friend, Ben, sympathizes with the Confederacy. On a long and dangerous journey from Cumberland Mountain to Nashville, Tennessee, in search of their only living relative, Hannah and her brother and sisters come to realize the true meaning of family and hope. This is a beautifully crafted novel about the tragedy of war and the power of love even in the toughest of times.
release date: Nov 04, 2008
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Freedom Walkers
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white man. This refusal to give up her dignity sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, a yearlong struggle, and a major victory in the civil rights movement. Source notes, map, bibliography, index.
release date: Oct 02, 2006
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Freedom Ship
Samual and his family are born slaves.  Every day they look beyond the harbor filled with Confederate ships, to the Atlantic Ocean, where the Union ships are--and potentially, their freedom.  If only they could get to those ships somehow....Then, on May13, 1862, Samuel and his family risk it all to be free.
 
Based on a true story, Doreen Rappaport weaves a riveting tale of a boy and his family aboard the gunboat Planter. Captained by Robert Smalls and loaded with fellow slaves, the ship flees to the Union fleet to gain freedom from slavery and deliver much-needed ammunition to the Union Navy.  Rappaport's suspenseful account, illustrated with the moody paintings of Curtis James, creates a vivid and relatable picture of this little-known tale of the civil war.
release date: Feb 01, 2006
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Dear Miss Breed
A chronicle of the incredible correspondence between California librarian Clara Breed and young Japanese American internees during World War II.

In the early 1940's, Clara Breed was the children's librarian at the San Diego Public Library. But she was also friend to dozens of Japanese American children and teens when war broke out in December of 1941. The story of what happened to these American citizens is movingly told through letters that her young friends wrote to Miss Breed during their internment. This remarkable librarian and humanitarian served as a lifeline to these imprisoned young people, and was brave enough to speak out against a shameful chapter in American history.
release date: Oct 12, 2010
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Dark Water Rising

I looked and saw water rushing in from Galveston Bay on one side and from the gulf on the other. The two seas met in the middle of Broadway, swirling over the wooden paving blocks, and I couldn't help but shudder at the sight. All of Galveston appeared to be under water.

Galveston, Texas, may be the booming city of the brand-new twentieth century, but to Seth, it is the end of a dream. He longs to be a carpenter like his father, but his family has moved to Galveston so he can go to a good school. Still, the last few weeks of summer might not be so bad. Seth has a real job as a builder and the beach is within walking distance. Things seem to be looking up, until a storm warning is raised one sweltering afternoon. No one could have imagined anything like this. Giant walls of water crash in from the sea. Shingles and bricks are deadly missiles flying through the air. People not hit by flying debris are swept away by rushing water. Forget the future, Seth and his family will be lucky to survive the next twenty-four hours.

Dark Water Rising is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
“Powerful and unsettling. . . . As memorable an introduction to the subject as The Diary of Anne Frank.” —USA Today
 
Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.
 
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Blood on the River
Twelve-year-old Samuel Collier is a lowly commoner on the streets of London. So when he becomes the page of Captain John Smith and boards the ship the Susan Constant, bound for the New World, he can't believe his good fortune. He's heard that gold washes ashore with every tide. But beginning with the stormy journey and his first contact with the native people, he realizes that the New World is nothing like he had ever imagined.The lush Virginia shore where they establish the colony of James Town is both beautiful and forbidding, and it's hard to know who's a friend or foe. As he learns the language of the Algonquin Indians and observes Captain Smith's wise diplomacy, Samuel begins to see that he can be whomever he wants to be in this new land.
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