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2017 Summer Reading List Elementary G6-G8

View all Recommendations by Age > Recommendations for Age 9-12 book lists; This list was last updated on 6/7/2017
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Reading can be one of the many fun activities children choose to fill their summer time. Research has shown it is also much more! Children who participate in public library summer reading programs make achievement leaps during the summer and score higher on fall reading achievement tests. The books on this list come highly recommended by kid readers from all over the country and may also be available in ebook, audio book, braille, and large print formats. This summer, take your child to participate in the summer programs happening at your library.

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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1 - 21 of 21 results
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Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune
Minamoto Yoshitsune should not have been a samurai. But his story is legend in this real-life saga.

This epic warrior tale reads like a novel, but this is the true story of the greatest samurai in Japanese history.

When Yoshitsune was just a baby, his father went to war with a rival samurai family—and lost. His father was killed, his mother captured, and his surviving half-brother banished. Yoshitsune was sent away to live in a monastery. Skinny, small, and unskilled in the warrior arts, he nevertheless escaped and learned the ways of the samurai. When the time came for the Minamoto clan to rise up against their enemies, Yoshitsune answered the call. His daring feats and impossible bravery earned him immortality.
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Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound

From award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney comes the story of the music that defined a generation and a movement that changed the world.

Berry Gordy began Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. He converted the garage of a residential house into a studio and recruited teenagers from the neighborhood-like Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross-to sing for his new label. Meanwhile, the country was on the brink of a cultural revolution, and one of the most powerful agents of change in the following decade would be this group of young black performers from urban Detroit. From Berry Gordy and his remarkable vision to the Civil Rights movement, from the behind-the-scenes musicians, choreographers, and song writers to the most famous recording artists of the century, Andrea Davis Pinkney takes readers on a Rhythm Ride through the story of Motown.

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Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West

Everyone knows the name Buffalo Bill, but few these days know what he did or, in some cases, didn't do. Was he a Pony Express rider? Did he serve Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn? Did he scalp countless Native Americans, or did he defend their rights?

This, the first significant biography of Buffalo Bill Cody for younger readers in many years, explains it all. With copious archival illustrations and a handsome design, Presenting Buffalo Bill makes the great showman come alive for new generations. Extensive back matter, bibliography, and source notes complete the package.

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One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance

In this collection of poetry, Nikki Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance -- including voices like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and many more writers of importance and resonance from this era -- by combining their work with her own original poetry. Using "The Golden Shovel" poetic method, Grimes has written a collection of poetry that is as gorgeous as it is thought-provoking.

This special book also includes original artwork in full-color from some of today's most exciting African American illustrators, who have created pieces of art based on Nikki's original poems. Featuring art by: Cozbi Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, Nikki Grimes, E. B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon.

A foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author's note, poet biographies, and index makes this not only a book to cherish, but a wonderful resource and reference as well.

Awards for Planet Middle School:
2014 Garden State Teen Book Awards list
Nominated for the 2012 NCAAP Image Award - Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teens
CCBC Choices 2012
2012 Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street
Nominated for the 2012-13Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards Program

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Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))

This captivating nonfiction investigation of the Pentagon Papers has captured widespread critical acclaim, including features in The Washington Post and on NPR, selection as a 2015 National Book Award finalist, and selection as winner of the 2016 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award.

From Steve Sheinkin, the award-winning author of The Port Chicago 50 and Newbery Honor Book Bomb comes a tense, narrative nonfiction account of what the Times deemed "the greatest story of the century": how whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into "the most dangerous man in America," and risked everything to expose years of government lies during the Nixon / Cold War era.

On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these files had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicians claiming to represent their interests. The investigation that resulted--as well as the attempted government coverups and vilification of the whistleblower--has timely relevance to Edward Snowden's more recent conspiracy leaks.

A provocative and political book that interrogates the meanings of patriotism, freedom, and integrity, Most Dangerous further establishes Steve Sheinkin as a leader in children's nonfiction.

This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse
Jimmy McClean is a Lakota boy—though you wouldn't guess it by his name: his father is part white and part Lakota, and his mother is Lakota. When he embarks on a journey with his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, he learns more and more about his Lakota heritage—in particular, the story of Crazy Horse, one of the most important figures in Lakota and American history. Drawing references and inspiration from the oral stories of the Lakota tradition, celebrated author Joseph Marshall III juxtaposes the contemporary story of Jimmy with an insider's perspective on the life of Tasunke Witko, better known as Crazy Horse (c. 1840–1877). The book follows the heroic deeds of the Lakota leader who took up arms against the US federal government to fight against encroachments on the territories and way of life of the Lakota people, including leading a war party to victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Along with Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse was the last of the Lakota to surrender his people to the US army. Through his grandfather's tales about the famous warrior, Jimmy learns more about his Lakota heritage and, ultimately, himself.

American Indian Youth Literature Award
 
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Listen, Slowly

Listen, Slowly is a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year! This remarkable and bestselling novel from Thanhha Lai, author of the National Book Award–winning and Newbery Honor Book Inside Out & Back Again, follows a young girl as she learns the true meaning of family.

A California girl born and raised, Mai can't wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai's parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn't know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

Perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia and Linda Sue Park, Listen, Slowly is an irresistibly charming and emotionally poignant tale about a girl who discovers that home and culture, family and friends, can all mean different things.

This paperback edition includes a special letter from the author and a Vietnamese glossary and pronunciation guide.

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Lost in the Sun
From the author of A Tangle of Knots and Absolutely Almost, a touching story about a boy who won't let one tragic accident define him.

Everyone says that middle school is awful, but Trent knows nothing could be worse than the year he had in fifth grade, when a freak accident on Cedar Lake left one kid dead, and Trent with a brain full of terrible thoughts he can't get rid of. Trent's pretty positive the entire disaster was his fault, so for him middle school feels like a fresh start, a chance to prove to everyone that he's not the horrible screw-up they seem to think he is. 
 
If only Trent could make that fresh start happen.
 
It isn't until Trent gets caught up in the whirlwind that is Fallon Little—the girl with the mysterious scar across her face—that things begin to change. Because fresh starts aren't always easy. Even in baseball, when a fly ball gets lost in the sun, you have to remember to shift your position to find it.

Praise for Lost in the Sun:
 
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year!
 
* "Graff writes with stunning insight [and] consistently demonstrates why character-driven novels can live from generation to generation."--Kirkus Reviews *STARRED*

* "Graff creates layered, vulnerable characters that are worth getting to know."--Booklist *STARRED*

* "[A]n ambitious and gracefully executed story."--Publishers Weekly *STARRED*
    
* "Weighty matters deftly handled with humor and grace will give this book wide appeal."--School Library Journal *STARRED*
 
* "Characterization is thoughtful."--BCCB *STARRED*
 
“In Lost in the Sun, Trent decides that he will speak the truth: that pain and anger and loss are not the final words, that goodness can find us after all—even when we hide from it.  This is a novel that speaks powerfully, honestly, almost shockingly about our human pain and our human redemption.  This book will change you.”—Gary Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor-winning author of The Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
 
“Lisa Graff crafts a compelling story about a boy touched with tragedy and the world of people he cares about.  And like all the best stories, it ends at a new beginning.”—Richard Peck, Newbery Award-winning author of A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way From Chicago
 
 
Lisa Graff's Awards and Reviews:
 
Lisa Graff's books have been named to 30 state award lists, and A Tangle of Knots was long-listed for the National Book Award.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Mark of the Thief (Mark of the Thief #1)
When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.
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Masterminds

"A terrific page-turner, full of unexpected twists and revelations. Buckle up."—James Patterson

The first book in a new action-packed series from New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman is perfect for young fans of James Patterson and John Grisham. 

Eli Frieden lives in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. Honesty and integrity are valued above all else. The thirty kids who live there never lie—they know it's a short leap from that to the awful problems of other, less fortunate places.

Eli has never left Serenity . . . why would he ever want to? Then one day, he bikes to the edge of the city limits and something so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their ideal crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one—least of all their own parents.

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The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
An exciting and hilarious medieval adventure from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm. Beautifully illustrated throughout! 
 
New York Times Bestseller  New York Times Editor's Choice  People Magazine Kid Pick  New York Times Notable Children's Book of 2016 • Washington Post Best Book of 2016 • School Library Journal Best Book of 2016 • Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016  Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016

“A profound and ambitious tour de force. Gidwitz is a masterful storyteller.” —Matt de la Peña, Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestselling author
 
“What Gidwitz accomplishes here is staggering." —New York Times Book Review

Includes a detailed historical note and bibliography
 
1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.
 
Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together. 

Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam's trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor's Tale is bold storytelling that's richly researched and adventure-packed.


"Puckish, learned, serendipitous . . . Sparkling medieval adventure." —Wall Street Journal

? "Gidwitz strikes literary gold with this mirthful and compulsively readable adventure story. . . . A masterpiece of storytelling that is addictive and engrossing." —Kirkus, starred review

? "A well-researched and rambunctiously entertaining story that has as much to say about the present as it does the past." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

? "Gidwitz proves himself a nimble storyteller as he weaves history, excitement, and multiple narrative threads into a taut, inspired adventure." —Booklist, starred review

? "Scatological humor, serious matter, colloquial present-day language, the ideal of diversity and mutual understanding—this has it all." —The Horn Book, starred review

? "I have never read a book like this. It's weird, and unfamiliar, and religious, and irreligious, and more fun than it has any right to be. . . . Gidwitz is on fire here, making medieval history feel fresh and current." —School Library Journal, starred review
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Hour of the Bees
What does it mean to be fully alive? Magic blends with reality in a stunning coming-of-age novel about a girl, a grandfather, wanderlust, and reclaiming your roots.

Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them. . . .

While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she's never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots. Readers who dream that there's something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.
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Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel (Tyme #1)
In all of Tyme, from the Redlands to the Grey, no one is as lucky as Rapunzel. She lives in a magic tower that obeys her every wish; she reads wonderful books starring herself as the heroine; her hair is the longest, most glorious thing in the world. And she knows this because Witch tells her so -- her beloved Witch, who protects her from evil princes, the dangerous ground under the tower, even unhappy thoughts. Rapunzel can't imagine any other life.

Then a thief named Jack climbs into her room to steal one of her enchanted roses. He's the first person Rapunzel's ever met who isn't completely charmed by her (well, the first person she's met at all, really), and he is infuriating -- especially when he hints that Witch isn't telling her the whole truth. Driven by anger at Jack and her own nameless fears, Rapunzel descends to the ground for the first time, and finds a world filled with more peril than Witch promised...and more beauty, wonder, and adventure than she could have dreamed.
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The Girl Who Drank the Moon
The New York Times bestseller

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna's thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge--with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth's surface. And the woman with the Tiger's heart is on the prowl . . .

The author of the highly acclaimed, award-winning novel The Witch's Boy has written an epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to be a modern classic.
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Fish in a Tree
"Fans of R.J. Palacio's Wonder will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts.” —Kirkus Reviews

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there's a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don't always think alike.

The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who's ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn't fit in. This paperback edition includes The Sketchbook of Impossible Things and discussion questions.

New York Times Bestseller! 

* “Unforgettable and uplifting.”School Library Connectionstarred review

* "Offering hope to those who struggle academically and demonstrating that a disability does not equal stupidity, this is as unique as its heroine.”Bookliststarred review

* “Mullaly Hunt again paints a nuanced portrayal of a sensitive, smart girl struggling with circumstances beyond her control." School Library Journal, starred review 
Dream on, Amber

My name is Amber Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto.
I have no idea why my parents gave me all those hideous names but they must have wanted to ruin my life, and you know what? They did an amazing job
.

As a half-Japanese, half-Italian girl with a ridiculous name, Amber's not feeling molto bene (very good) about making friends at her new school.

But the hardest thing about being Amber is that a part of her is missing. Her dad. He left when she was little and he isn't coming back. Not for her first day of middle school and not for her little sister's birthday. So Amber will have to dream up a way for the Miyamoto sisters to make it on their own...

"[A] beautifully written story."-The Independent
"One of those books that you simply won't want to put down...five out of five stars!"-The Guardian

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Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: 20 Chilling Tales from the Wilderness

Just for kids, twenty bone-chilling tales about the most dangerous fantastical beasts in American folklore. Meet the Snoligoster, who feeds on the shadows of its victims. The Hodag, like a spiny-backed bull-horned rhinoceros. The Hoop Snake, which can chase prey at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and then, with one sting of its tail, cause it to turn purple, swell up, and die.

Illustrated throughout, including eight drawings printed with glow-in-the-dark ink, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods is for every young reader who loves a good scare. The book was originally published in 1910 by William Thomas Cox and is now inspiringly retold by Hal Johnson, author of Immortal Lycanthropes. The creatures are all scales and claws, razor-sharp teeth and stealth, camouflage and single-minded nastiness. Straight out of the era of Paul Bunyan, they speak to an earlier time in American history, when the woods were indeed dark and deep and filled with mystery. The tone is smart and quirky. The illustrations have a sinewy, retro field-guide look. Read them around a campfire, if you dare.
 

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The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))

At the outset of World War II, Denmark did not resist German occupation. Deeply ashamed of his nation's leaders, fifteen-year-old Knud Pedersen resolved with his brother and a handful of schoolmates to take action against the Nazis if the adults would not. Naming their secret club after the fiery British leader, the young patriots in the Churchill Club committed countless acts of sabotage, infuriating the Germans, who eventually had the boys tracked down and arrested. But their efforts were not in vain: the boys' exploits and eventual imprisonment helped spark a full-blown Danish resistance. Interweaving his own narrative with the recollections of Knud himself, here is Phillip Hoose's inspiring story of these young war heroes.

This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.

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Booked
National Book Award Long List
New York Times Bestseller 


Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can't nobody stop you/
can't nobody cop you…
In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER,  soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read.  
This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!
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Beetle Boy
* "Even the most squeamish will be charmed." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A cracking mystery adventure, with plenty of Roald Dahl-esque humor to engage readers." --The Bookseller (UK)

"Truly great storytelling." --Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse

Darkus Cuttle can't believe his eyes when a huge insect drops off the pants leg of his horrible new neighbor. It's a giant beetle -- and it seems to want to communicate.

But how can a boy be friends with a beetle? And what does a beetle have to do with the disappearance of his dad and the arrival of the terrifying Lucretia Cutter, with her taste for creepy fashion?

The first book of a trilogy, Beetle Boy is a darkly hilarious adventure full of exotic beetles, daring schemes, and true friendship.
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