Eighth Grade Summer Reading 2017

The goal of summer reading for incoming eighth graders is for students to enjoy reading over the summer and for teachers to get to know students as readers. All eighth grade students are expected to read two books—one required book and one choice book from the list below. They will be held accountable for these books in the fall. Students should purchase the required book and bring it to class on the first day of school.

Eighth Grade Required Reading

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good. When Sophie has to visit her mother at her sanctuary for bonobos, she’s not thrilled to be there. Then Otto, an infant bonobo, comes into her life, and for the first time she feels responsible for another creature. When an armed revolution breaks out in the country, the sanctuary is attacked, and the two of them must escape unprepared into the jungle. Caught in the crosshairs of a lethal conflict, they must struggle to keep safe, to eat, and to live.

This book will be discussed in class during the first weeks of school, and students will be assessed on it. Additionally, students should annotate the text while reading by doing the following directly in their books:

  • Circle any new characters.
  • Mark (underline or bracket) important moments in the story. This is not an exact science but try to avoid marking up too much.
  • Write brief comments in the margins that describe important moments, make comments about a passage, or ask questions.
  • At the end of a chapter/section, write 2-3 bullet points of important plot points that occurred in that chapter/section.
  • The skill of annotating a text, which is practiced throughout middle school, continues to be an expectation in eighth grade. This work will provide a way to enter into that conversation.

Eighth Grade Choice Reading

The books on the choice list meet the needs of students at a variety of reading levels and cover a wide range of topics. Furthermore, many of these selections are memoirs, which may introduce students to the genre in anticipation for the memoir project that they will complete during the year. Students should read one book from the following list:

Letter to my Daughter by Maya Angelou

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight.

In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle by Madeleine Blais

Begun as an article in the "New York Times Magazine," In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle offers a close-up of the girls on a high school basketball team whose passion for the sport is rivaled only by their loyalty to one another. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Madeleine Blais's book takes the reader through a season in the history of the Lady Hurricanes of Amherst, Massachusetts, from tryouts and practices during the regular season up through the final championship game.

The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Anne Brashares

On Fire Island, 21-year-old Alice and her slightly older sister, Riley, are sharing a home and an infatuation. Boyish lifeguard Riley values her closeness with longtime neighbor Paul, but their "best friend" relationship has less pull than the attraction he shares with Alice.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

A young man returns to his old boarding school to put to rest emotions within him which spurred a tragic turn of events in his best friend’s life.

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville

What is Un Lun Dun? It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up…and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book. When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.

Somewhere in the Darkness by Walter Dean Myers

Jimmy hasn't seen his father in nine years. But one day he comes back -- on the run from the law. Together, the two of them travel across the country -- where Jimmy's dad will find the man who can exonerate him of the crime for which he was convicted. Along the way, Jimmy discovers a lot about his father and himself -- and that while things can't always be fixed, sometimes they can be understood and forgiven.

The Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Paradise, Pennsylvania, is a jewel in Lancaster County. There, a dead infant is found in the barn of an Amish farmer. Philadelphia defense attorney Ellie Hathaway finds herself caught in a clash of wills with her client, an unmarried Amish teenager, Katie Fisher.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

In 1949, four Chinese women begin meeting in San Francisco for fun. Nearly 40 years later, their daughters continue to meet as the Joy Luck Club. Their stories ultimately display the double happiness that can be found in being both Chinese and American.

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

LaVaughn needed a part-time job. What she got was a baby-sitting gig with Jolly, an unwed teen mother. With two kids hanging in the balance, they need to make the best out of life -- and they can only do it for themselves and each other.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.

Finding Hollis by Pauline Knaeble Williams (Penn Charter parent)

. . . the sway of the trolley, the unusual passenger, the truck's raspy muffler, the woman's torn dress, and her own inability to help.  Frances is determined to let the details of the disturbing incident go. She's certain that by Monday her life will return to normal and the wrung-out feeling inside will be gone. Yet she soon finds that neither the sound of her typewriter nor the lunchroom chatter will erase the dying woman's final request: "Find Hollis."  Finding Hollis, a novel set in 1944 in North Minneapolis, is a journey in search of more than just a name. Within it the threads of three separate worlds become interwoven-first by circumstance, then by understanding.

(Summaries from www.barnesandnoble.com)

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Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
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