UMS Reading List (7-8)

Summer Reading lists are here!

6th Graders moving into 7th Grade

My hope and expectation is that incoming 7th graders find time for reading this summer, and that they look to read books they really enjoy. That is why I have provided such an extensive list of recommended books. There is one required book explained below, but outside of that read whatever you desire-just read, read, read! Jim Parker, 7th Grade Coordinator

Along with the required reading, please create a list of books that you read this summer. A small celebration (involving ice cream and prizes) will be held for all students reading (and listing) six or more books. My email is If you want to share ideas about books, recommend books, or receive more book recommendations, please email me and get the conversation started.

REQUIRED READING: Please read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton in late July and early August. Please keep a character log in a spiral notebook. Character logs should include descriptions of the characters and how they are related to other characters in the novel. Class discussion and an essay test will take place the first three weeks of school.

Moon Over Manifest & Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool


When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead


Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech


Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson


The Stars, Like Dust by Isaac Asimov


Close to Famous by Joan Bauer


Tangerine by Edward Bloor


Pieces of Georgia: A Novel by Jen Bryant


CHALLENGE BOOK: Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card (series)


Dragon’s Keep by Janet Lee Carey


Heist Society by Ally Carter


The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima.


And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.


Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi


Airman by Eoin Colfer


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (series)


Matched by Alex Condie


Three Black Swans by Caroline Cooney


The Wanderer by Sharon Creech


Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings


Igbal by Francisco D’Adamo


Payback Time by Carl Deuker


Notes From An Accidental Band Geek by Erin Dionne


The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Fire from the Rock by Sharon M. Draper


Challenge Book: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas


The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer


The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game by John Feinstein


Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (series)


Sir Charlie Chaplin: The Funniest Man in the World by Sid Fleishman


The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman


The Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution by Sally Gardner


Take Me To The River by Will Hobbs


Middle School is Worse Than Meat Loaf by Jennifer Holmes


Dragonfly by Julia Golding


How the Hangman Lost His Heart by K. M. Grant


The Big Time: A Football Genius Novel by Tim Green


Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes


Reaching Dustin by Vicki Grove


Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale


The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett


Vampire Rising by Jason Henderson


Chomp by Carl Hiaasen


Nightrise by Anthony Horowitz


A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson


The Cobra King of Kathmandu by P. B. Kerr


Challenge Book: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling


The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby


Stuck on Earth by David Klass


Pop by Gordon Korman  


Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt


Chronicles of Narnia (7 book series) by C.S Lewis


Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China by Moying Li


CHALLENGE BOOK: The Call of the Wild by Jack London


Heat by Mike Lupica (actually love most titles by Mike Lupica)


Ruined, A Ghost Story by Paula Morris


The Real Benedict Arnold by Jim Murphy


Slam by Walter Dean Myers


You & Yours by Naomi Shihab Nye


Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel


CHALLENGE BOOK: Eragon by Christopher Paloni(series)


Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve.


The Red Pyramid & The Lost Heroby Rick Riordan (any books in any of the Riordan series)


Keturah and Lord Death by Carlos Zafón Ruiz  


Rescuing Seneca Crane by Susan Runholt  


Boris by Cynthia Rylant


The Cardturner: A Novel About a Queen, a King, and a Joker by Louis Sachar


Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury  


Okay For Now & The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt


The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman


Bruiser by Neal Shusterman. Other good titles from Neal Shusterman: The Schwa Was Here and/or Antsy Does Time.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith


Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie and After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick


Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud


Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson


The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien  


CHALLENGE BOOK: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne  


Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps by Andrea Warren.


CHALLENGE BOOK. War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells


Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld


Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (series)  


The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Richard Yancey

8th Graders are required to read at least two books of their choice.

Summertime again! Time for barbeque, swim parties and, yes, summer reading. In order to assist you as well as possible, the Language Arts & Social Studies teams have put together a list of recommended books for your summer reading pleasure. Each list contains a variety of genres and is separated by grade level. These lists are only suggested reading; feel free to choose your own books for summer reading as well. Also feel free to continue any reading accommodations used during the school year (i.e. books on tape, reading together) whenever necessary.


Once again we ask students to keep up a summer reading log that includes:

  • the title and author of each book you read
  • the date when you finish the book
  • a parent’s initials acknowledging that you have finished.

The reading log is merely a list of books you read with the above information and can be done on any piece of notebook paper or on a computer document.


8th Graders also have additional required reading: Watership Down – by Richard Adams and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau.
These required assignments count towards your total books read (exception: 8th grade Social Studies assignment). Challenge books count as “two books”. A party will be held at the beginning of the school year for students that read at least seven books. Prizes will be given to our most prolific readers. Reading logs are due the first week of school. Invitations to the party will be given to students that turn in their logs to their homeroom teachers during the first week. You can also email me your reading log if you prefer. Logs will not be accepted after the first week of school.
As mentioned, these summer reading lists are only a guideline of recommended books. Other books that are not on the list are definitely allowed and encouraged. I would recommend parents help their child choose books that are at their reading level. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at If you would like to read a book from a different grade list, we are fine with that, but be aware that some of the books on the upper grade lists are chosen because of the mature content they contain.

Have Fun Reading!
Additional 8thGrade

Go and Come Back by Joan Abelove

Up on Cloud Nine by Anne Fine

April Morning by Howard Fast

Ghost Boy by Iain Lawrence

Touching the Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Freak the Mighty by W.R. Philbrick

True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolf

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglass Adams

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Folkkeeper by Franny Bilingsley

Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther

The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Define Normal by Julie Anne Peters

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Tehanu by Ursula k. Le Guin

The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd


Challenge Books for 8th Grade

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Dune and/or others in the series by Frank Hebert

Pooh and the Millennium by John Tyerman Williams

The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone (counts as three books)


Required Reading for the 8th Grade

Please read Watership Down by Richard Adams in July & early August. It counts as a challenge book (two books for your Reading Log). Please keep a character log for each section/time period in the book. Character logs should include descriptions of the main character of that section and how they are related to past characters in the novel. Class discussion and a test will take place the first three weeks of school. If you do not read this book this summer, it will be the first book you read when school begins. If you read it during the summer you will not have to read a novel in the first quarter.


Required for 8th Grade Social Studies

Please read Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”. It is a short(-ish) essay and exists in the public domain, so it can be found online for free or at most bookstores for a very inexpensive price.

One of the skills emphasized in 8th grade is how to effectively research. Since there are excellent tools available on the Austin Public Library’s website, every student who is eligible should have a library card. Please note that this is free, but does require a parent or guardian’s signature.